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Panthers’ Efe Obada on NFL journey: ‘I don’t take anything for granted’

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There are countless stories about the struggles of players on their journey to the NFL, but few, if any, are like the one of defensive end Efe Obada, who went from homeless in a foreign land to the 53-man roster of the Carolina Panthers.cheap stitched nfl jerseys free shipping

But it is that path that helped the 26-year-old become the first player from the NFL’s International Pathway program to make a final roster. He describes a journey from his native Nigeria to the Netherlands to the United Kingdom — via human traffickers. Then, in England, Obada and his sister were abandoned and left homeless.

“It instilled a hunger in me that I have to this day and I feel I can apply in the game,” Obada said Tuesday. “It’s kind of going through a state of survival.

“So what I do today I don’t take anything for granted. I don’t take this opportunity for granted because it doesn’t come so easily.”3

Obada couldn’t stop smiling on Sunday when telling reporters how he got the news he’d made the team. On Tuesday, he was focused on making the most of his opportunity to the point he didn’t want to discuss in detail his unusual path here.

“I’ll be honest with you,” Obada said. “What happened to me is something that has happened across the world, it’s happened to a lot of people. I’m just blessed to have the opportunity I’m in right now. I just want to focus on football.nfl cheap jerseys free shipping

“Eventually down the line when everything is settled and I’ve established myself in the league, then I’ll go into that. I’ll go into my background. I’ll go into my history.”

Obada acknowledges his story of suffering and perseverance is intriguing to those on the outside. He can’t believe he has a locker next to future Hall of Fame defensive end Julius Peppers, fourth on the NFL’s all-time sack list with 154.5 sacks.

Obada also admits he still has trust issues, that there are things from his past he hasn’t fully processed.

“I’m in a position where I want to contribute to this team,” Obada said. “I don’t want it to be focused on my story. Some of these issues I haven’t dealt with, I haven’t taken time to understand. I don’t just want to be a story.

“I know media is a part of the process, a part of the industry I’m in right now, but this means the world to me. I don’t want anything, anyone, to take that from me.”

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