Nigeria born Efe Obada goes from streets of London to Panthers 53-man rosterSeptember 3, 2018
Efe rise from grass to grace
Cutdown day is a bruising one for the dreams of more than a thousand players who find out that their hopes of making a team have been dashed.
There are a lot of happy moments as well, including the news that defensive end Efe Obada survived Saturday’s cuts to make the Panthers 53-man roster. Obada was born in Nigeria, moved to the Netherlands and then, along with his sister, trafficked to England at the age of 10. Once in London, the two kids were abandoned on the streets and, as he told NFL UK a couple of years ago, eventually finding his way to football at 22 after experimenting with life in a gang.
He played for the London Warriors, caught the eye of the the Cowboys in 2015 and spent the next couple of years getting looks with NFL teams before getting cut. He came to the Panthers in 2017 as part of the International Pathway Program and became the first player from that program to make a 53-man roster on Saturday.
“It hasn’t set in. I don’t even know. I’m grateful,” Obada said, via the team’s website. “You know when you really want something and you get it and you’re like, ‘Oh my goodness. Like, what?’ I’m so happy. I’m going to enjoy this. I’ve been working very hard just to feel this.”
Obada’s story can still take more turns, especially if the Panthers were to make moves in the next couple of days that shift the direction they’re taking on the active roster. That wouldn’t make for as happy a story, but it’s still notable to see how far Obada has come four years after playing football for the first time.