The Dallas Cowboys announced on Wednesday that they signed a 22-year-old defensive end named Efe Obada from the London Warriors, an amateur football team in England.
Obada was scouted by Warriors’ defensive coordinator Aden Durde, who was an intern coach with the Cowboys last season, according to Neil Reynolds of NFL UK.
Obada’s journey to the NFL is incredible.
According to Reynolds, Obada and his sister were trafficked from the Netherlands to the U.K. when Obada was 10. Upon arriving in London, they were left alone and homeless. Obada says:
“This lady just left us out on the streets. It was scary and we were lonely. We went to a tower block building and there was a security guard there. We explained our situation and he let us sleep in the foyer of the flats. We spent two or three nights sleeping in the foyer of that building and we only had our jackets to keep us warm. It was freezing.”
Obada says he joined gangs as he got older, but eventually steered away from that life when he saw three of his friends get killed.
While studying business at Lamberth College, a friend introduced Obada to the Warriors, which was his first introduction to American football.
Obada told Reynolds:
“I didn’t really know anything about American football but I was told I had the physique and that I should try it. I fell in love with the sport. When I went to the first practice, I was just trying to get my frustration out and release some energy. I was congratulated for hitting somebody and I liked it.”
While playing for the Warriors, Obada worked as a warehouse storeman at Grace Foods, working 40 hours per week with shifts starting at 6 a.m. He played five games for the team before getting signed by the Cowboys.
Obada has the raw athleticism to make it in the NFL, according to Reynolds. He ran a 4.67 40-yard dash — which would be second among tight ends in the recent NFL Combine — and a 120-inch broad jump, which would be the highest among tight ends.
Obada lifting a big tire:
Though video of Obada playing is hard to come by, here he is tipping a pass, as spotted by Nick C, a Cowboys writer for Real Sports Entertainment Network:
The Cowboys’ own website called him a “long shot” to make the team. NFL teams are allowed to have 90 players on the roster right now, but must cut that to 53 by the start of the regular season.
Still, Obada has a shot.
“This is a dream,” Obada told Reynolds. “It’s amazing and life-changing. It’s a major turning point in my life and feels like a movie. This could be it — I can change my life. This is unreal — this doesn’t happen to people like me. I’ve never even been outside of London since I arrived in the UK.”
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