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Lawrence Okoye Plays Tour Guide for 49ers

Posted Oct 23, 2013

San Francisco rookie defensive tackle Lawrence Okoye is playing a role this week in his home country, even if he won't be playing one on the field come Sunday.

Unlike their 2010 trip to London for the NFL's International Series, the 49ers brought a native with them this time around.

Defensive tackle Lawrence Okoye won't play in Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He is on Injured Reserve with, what he called on Wednesday, a sprained PCL in his knee. But Okoye has at least one role in his teammates' stay this week in the U.K.

"They think I'm their Yellow Pages," Okoye said.

Added Jim Harbaugh: "Lawrence has become a more popular guy on the team, I noticed."


Okoye, of course, knows his come country well, and players took advantage on their first night out in town. But the rugby player-turned-Olympian-turned-NFL rookie would rather talk about his increasingly higher "football IQ," to borrow his phrase.

Those same teammates have teased Okoye for studying other defensive lineman throughout the league so well that he knows the entirety of the back of their football card: height, weight, college and statistics. The 6-foot-6, 304-pounder himself said he should be 100 percent healthy next month and that he can't wait until next season's training camp.

His late-night film sessions keep him going for the time being.

"He's a football nerd right now," said defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, who has found his 'super chap' pupil at the team's Santa Clara, Calif. facility as late as 11 p.m. "He talks it, he eats it, he sleeps it."

Added Okoye, who has deferred his acceptance to the University of Oxford until 2017: "I'll be on my laptop all the time, checking things up... I like researching things, and I think that's something I have to do in the position I'm in."

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