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Lawrence Okoye ready for hard work to fulfil NFL dream

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Lawrence Okoye is prepared for the hard work ahead as he looks to fulfil his goal of becoming an NFL starter with the San Francisco 49ers.

The discus Olympic finalist went undrafted last month, but was picked up by the Superbowl runners-up as a free agent shortly after the draft.

The 21-year-old is yet to play a down of American football, but the 49ers saw potential in his athleticism and have taken a chance, hoping to turn him into a defensive lineman.

And while Okoye admits he might have to be patient before he gets his chance to show what he can do, he's ready to give it his all for a team he thinks is perfect for him.

Speaking to, Okoye said: "There's a huge amount to pick up. I've learnt as much about the game as I can without actually playing it but I'm still an outsider looking in.

"But they've made it clear that I shouldn't stress and that they're going to teach me everything from scratch. It will be similar to the journey I had learning the discus with my coach John Hillier."

Okoye, an Olympic finalist at last summer's London 2012 Games, was also a talented rugby player. But his impressive workouts for NFL teams in America earlier this year convinced him he has what it takes to play in the NFL.

"I started from the basics such as how to hold a discus and how to flick it off your fingers and I literally moved up from one level to level 100," continued Okoye. "I plan on doing the same thing with football.

San Francisco 49ers are one of the NFL's best teams, and reached the Superbowl last season only to lose to the Baltimore Ravens.

The exact details behind Okoye's deal remain undisclosed, but the player's representatives confirmed it is a "long-term commitment."

"It's amazing for me," Okoye said. "Obviously, I'm delighted about how things have turned out and I think the 49ers are the best fit in the league for what I'm trying to do."

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