Christian Okoye

Christian Okoye

NFL Retired
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Christian Okoye

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Christian Emeka Okoye (; born August 16, 1961), is a former American Football running back for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1987 to 1992. Nicknamed "The Nigerian Nightmare," Okoye was known for his powerful running style and ability to break tackles. Okoye's six seasons in the NFL saw a league rushing title in 1989, two Pro Bowl appearances (1989, 1991), and three playoff appearances. He voluntarily ended his NFL career due to multiple injuries. He wore number 35.

College career

Born in Enugu, Nigeria, Okoye did not play American football until 1984, when he joined the squad at California's Azusa Pacific University. He excelled in track & field, winning seven college titles in the shotput, discus, and hammer throw. The first time he attended an American football game he thought the game was boring.

After the Nigerian government failed to select Okoye for the Olympics, he sought something else to do besides track & field and went out for American football. Initially, Okoye did not enjoy the roughness of football and thought about quitting but friends convinced him to continue playing. His track speed was unusual for someone his size — 6'1", 260 lbs. — and this rare combination of talents led to his selection in the second round...
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