San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh says British NFL rookie Lawrence Okoye is 'not a good football player', but claims the defensive end is improving.
Croydon-native Okoye, 21, who is a former member of the academies of English rugby clubs London Wasps and London Irish, is embarking upon a new career in American football following a moderately successful stint as a discus thrower that saw him represent Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics.
Okoye wasn't picked up by any team during the 2013 NFL draft, but signed for the 49ers in April.
Despite having no experience whatsoever in the sport, Okoye's height and imposing physique make him an intriguing prospect.
Harbaugh told reporters at a press conference: "He's (Okoye) not a good football player, and his next growth is to be not a bad player.
"But he's made growth from never having played the game of football so, once again you talk about process, the expectations need to be realistic and that's the next step.
"I want him to be a bad football player because that's the next jump up for Lawrence Okoye, but he's making significant strides each and every day."
Okoye could get his first taste of action in a 49ers uniform on Thursday night as they host Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos at Candlestick Park.
Although only a pre-season clash, many eyes will surely be fixed on the clash between the two teams currently considered to be the favourites to appear at Superbowl XLVIII in New Jersey.
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