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Lawrence Okoye (born 6 October 1991) is a British track and field athlete and American football defensive tackle who is currently a free agent. He is the British record holder in the discus event, and has also played rugby union.[1]

Lawrence Okoye
refer to caption
Okoye with the San Francisco 49ers in 2015
Free agent
Position:Defensive tackle
Personal information
Born: (1991-10-06) 6 October 1991 (age 27)
Croydon, England
Height:6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Weight:310 lb (141 kg)
Career information
High school:London (UK) Whitgift
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at
Lawrence Okoye
Athletissima 2012 - Lawrence Okoye (2).jpg
Okoye in 2012
Personal information
Born (1991-10-06) 6 October 1991 (age 27)
Height1.98 m (6 ft 6 in)
Weight138 kg (304 lb)
SportTrack and field
Event(s)Discus throw
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)68.24 m


Personal lifeEdit

Born in Croydon in South London to Nigerian parents,[2] Okoye was educated at St Mary's Roman Catholic Junior School, a voluntary aided Roman Catholic state primary school in Croydon, followed by Whitgift School, an independent school for boys, also in Croydon.

Okoye is an honorary member of the St Peter's College JCR, and has an outstanding offer from the University of Oxford to study law which he is keen to take up in the future.

He played rugby union as a winger[3] for Whitgift School playing in the Daily Mail Schools Rugby Under 18 final at Twickenham in 2010, and was also a member of the academy teams of both London Irish and London Wasps.[4]

Lawrence married Philippa Okoye in August 2014, however, the pair separated in 2017. Philippa is a lawyer and financial adviser and sued her former employer, deVere Group, for racial and sexual harassment in 2015.[5]

Okoye was arrested on 6 February 2019 as part of a reverse prostitution sting in Shelby County, Alabama, four days before the kickoff of the Birmingham Iron's inaugural season.[6]


Okoye began training full-time in the discus in September 2010 after a promising career as a junior rugby union player.[7] In his first international outing he came sixth in the discus throw at the 2010 World Junior Championships in Athletics. He won a gold medal at the 2011 European Athletics U23 Championships in July 2011 at the age of 19.

Later on that season, Okoye threw a new British record of 67.63m at the McCain Jumps & Throws Fest.[8] He then bettered that mark with another British record of 68.24m at the Hallesche Werfertage meeting in May 2012.[9]

In the 2012 Summer Olympics, Okoye competed in the discus, reaching the final with a throw of 65.28m. In the final, he finished in twelfth place with a throw of 61.03m. After the competition, he expressed disappointment with his placing in the final.[10]

NFL careerEdit

2013 NFL CombineEdit

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP
6 ft 6 in
(1.98 m)
304 lb
(138 kg)
4.78 s 1.67 s 2.75 s 4.65 s 6.69 s 36 in
(0.91 m)
10 ft 7 in
(3.23 m)
30 reps
All values from Central Florida Pro Day.[11]

2013 NFL DraftEdit

In March 2013, Okoye announced his intentions to play in the National Football League, despite having never played American football at school or university; he stated that five NFL teams expressed interest in him, and planned to sign after the 2013 NFL Draft.[12] At the NFL Super Regional Combine, Okoye ran the 40-yard dash in 4.78 seconds, while scoring 36 inches on the vertical jump and 10 feet, 7 inches on the broad jump.[13][14] Okoye was signed on 27 April by the San Francisco 49ers.[15]

San Francisco 49ersEdit

On 27 August 2013, Okoye was placed on Injured Reserve after sustaining an injury in the pre-season.

On 31 August 2014, the 49ers announced that Okoye was added to the practice squad.[16]

On 31 August 2015, Okoye was waived in order for the 49ers to make the 53-man roster.

Arizona CardinalsEdit

On 7 September 2015, Arizona Cardinals signed Okoye to their practice squad.[17]

On 21 October 2015, the Cardinals released Okoye from their practice squad.[18] Head coach Bruce Arians said that a leading reason for Okoye's release was because Okoye parked his car in Arians' parking spot at team facilities.[19]

New York JetsEdit

On 13 November 2015, New York Jets signed Okoye to their practice squad.[20]

Okoye signed a reserve/future contract on 11 January 2016.[21]

The Jets released Okoye on 1 June 2016.[22]

Dallas CowboysEdit

Cowboys signed Okoye on 8 June 2016,[23] but he was released on 3 September 2016 during final roster cuts.[24]

Chicago BearsEdit

On 23 November 2016, Okoye was signed to the Bears' practice squad.[25]

Miami DolphinsEdit

On 12 January 2017, Okoye signed a reserve/future contract with the Dolphins.[26] He was waived on 2 September 2017.[27]

CFL careerEdit

Montreal AlouettesEdit

On 18 September 2017, Okoye signed to the practice squad of Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. He was put on the active roster and played his first CFL game[28] on Friday, 29 September against the Calgary Stampeders, recording 1 tackle.[29] He was released on 8 October 2017[30] and re-signed by the Alouettes on 19 May 2018.[31]

AAF careerEdit

Birmingham IronEdit

On 12 October 2018, Okoye signed for the Birmingham Iron of the proposed Alliance for American Football ahead of the inaugural season of the League in 2019.[32][33] He made the 52-man roster on 30 January 2019.[34] He was placed on injured reserve on 20 February 2019. The league ceased operations in April 2019.[35]


  1. ^ Okoye Lawrence. IAAF. Retrieved on 21 May 2012.
  2. ^ Chadband, Ian (14 July 2012). "London 2012 Olympics: Team GB's Lawrence Okoye hopes to repay headmaster's faith with discus medal". The Daily Telegraph.
  3. ^ "London 2012: Meet Team GB's very own 'beast' in Lawrence Okoye".
  4. ^ "Discus finalist Okoye considers rugby return after Olympics disappointment". Daily Mail. London. 15 August 2012.
  5. ^ Sherwell, Philip (19 May 2015). "British wife of Olympic and NFL star subjected to a 'real-life Wolf of Wall Street office'". The Telegraph.
  6. ^ Robinson, Carol (8 February 2019). "Birmingham Iron player among 13 busted in Shelby County prostitution sting".
  7. ^ Anna Kessel (5 August 2011). "Discus thrower Lawrence Okoye has belief to be a world beater". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  8. ^ van Dijck, Florian (28 October 2011). "Lawrence Okoye – man on a mission". Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  9. ^ German discus star Harting over 70 metres in Halle Archived 27 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine. European Athletics (20 May 2012). Retrieved on 21 May 2012.
  10. ^ Hart, Simon (7 August 2012). "Lawrence Okoye bows out of London 2012 discus final". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  11. ^ "Lawrence Okoye, DS #17 DT, No College".
  12. ^ Copeland, Kareem (31 March 2013). "Lawrence Okoye hopes to move from Olympics to NFL". National Football League. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  13. ^ Brooks, Bucky (9 April 2013). "Lawrence Okoye, Cody Davis shine at Super Regional Combine". National Football League. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
  14. ^
  15. ^ Wesseling, Chris (27 April 2013). "Lawrence Okoye to 49ers leads free-agent rookie deals". National Football League. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  16. ^ "49ers Sign 7 Players To Practice Squad".
  17. ^ Urban, Darren (7 September 2015). "Practice Squad Set For Cardinals". Archived from the original on 1 March 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  18. ^ url= Cardinals Transactions
  19. ^ "Bruce Arians Cut Practice Squad Player Over Parking Spot".
  20. ^ Slater, Darryl (17 November 2015). "Meet Lawrence Okoye, former British Olympian signed by Jets". Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  21. ^ Lange, Randy (11 January 2016). "Jets Sign 4 More to Reserve/Future Contracts". New York Jets. Archived from the original on 13 January 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  22. ^ "Jets release former English discus-thrower Lawrence Okoye". 1 June 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  23. ^ "Cowboys sign Lawrence Okoye, two others". 8 June 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  24. ^ "Dallas Cowboys Roster Cuts Tracker". 3 September 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  25. ^ Mayer, Larry (23 November 2016). "Bears re-sign Fales, put Miller on IR".
  26. ^ "Dolphins Sign DL Lawrence Okoye To Futures Deal". 12 January 2017.
  27. ^ "Dolphins Make Roster Moves". 2 September 2017. Archived from the original on 20 June 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  28. ^ "Montreal Alouettes Depth Chart vs Stampeders" (PDF).
  29. ^ "Alouettes box score vs Stampeders".
  30. ^ "CFL Transactions". Oct 8 2017: MTL REM UNS INT Lawrence OKOYE (DL)
  31. ^ "Alouettes news release".
  32. ^ "Birmingham Iron roster".
  33. ^ "AAF signs more players".
  34. ^ "Birmingham Iron sets roster for inaugural season". 30 January 2019.
  35. ^ Michael Rothstein, Seth Wickersham (13 June 2019). "Inside the short, unhappy life of the Alliance of American Football". Retrieved 12 September 2019.

External linksEdit