What's tougher, football or rugby?
Miami Dolphins defensive lineman Lawrence Okoye was accepted into Oxford Law School — yeah, the fancy school in England. He was an Olympic athlete, having been a member of the 2012 English Olympic team as a discus thrower. He was also a promising rugby winger in his native UK.
But despite such and impressive résumé and ample opportunities to do other things, Okoye wants to be an NFL player.
He’s on the Dolphins roster and has bounced around with other teams. He was on and cut from the San Francisco, Arizona and New York Jets practice squads and also spent some time with Dallas and the Chicago Bears last year. He has done this while deferring his acceptance to Oxford so obviously this player really wants to be on an NFL team.
Except that’s not how the Arizona Cardinals saw it.
In 2015, the Cardinals cut Okoye from their practice squad because they believed the lineman felt a sense of “entitlement.”
And they came to this conclusion because Okoye apparently took someone else’s parking spot one day when he was running late and didn’t want to look for another spot to park.
We know this because the Cardinals were on an Amazon series called “All or Nothing” that year, and the show’s cameras were present when Okoye’s indiscretion was the subject of a discussion among coach Bruce Arians, general manager Steve Keim and team president Michael Bidwill.
“Parked in the wrong spot,” Arians said to Keim and Bidwill. “There weren’t any parking places, so he just parked and came running in.”
To which Keim added, “Tough [expletive], bro.”
Said Arians: “He has a different sense of entitlement having been an Olympian. He is a talented guy, and he probably ought to go to Oxford.”
When Bidwill, whose family owns the club, chimes in, “follow the rules,” that seals Okoye’s fate.
He was cut that day.
The next scene shows defensive lineman Olsen Pierre, who replaced Okoye on the roster, hearing from Arians about what just happened.
“If it says ‘handicap’ or if it says ‘season ticket holder,’ the guy that you replaced, he parked there,” Arians said. “We ain’t got many rules.”
One assumes Okoye has learned to get his parking etiquette right at the Dolphins training facility. One assumes he’s not often running late, either.
On Thursday, the final day of OTAs, he was made available to the media. (I wish I had known about this parking story before the interview, but alas, I did not.)
Anyway, Okoye was free to discuss football and his chances of making the team — which admittedly are not great.
“I think I’ve been making plays,” he said. “Obviously, we don’t have pads on yet, so there’s kind of a limit on how physical I can be. Hopefully when pads do come on, it will be even better. I think I’ve shown that I’ve got some quickness and some nice hand moves and some nice counter moves. We’ll keep that going as training camp comes forward.”
Just put your car in the right space, young man.
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero