NFL player who never played football until he went to U of M signs $35M deal

NFL player who never played football until he went to U of M signs $35M deal

NFL player David Onyemata, a Nigerian-born defensive lineman who had never played football until his time at the University of Manitoba, has signed a lucrative three-year contract worth $35 million with the Atlanta Falcons. The deal includes $24.5 million in guaranteed money.

Onyemata’s unlikely journey to the NFL began when he saw a few football games on television and decided he wanted to give the sport a try. He went to the international student office at the University of Manitoba and asked where he could play some sports. He was directed to the football field, and the rest is history.


New Orleans Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata is shown after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in New Orleans, in this Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, file photo. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman, File)

“He’d never played football. I put him on the field for the first time and we were shocked at the way he moved. Shocked,” said Brian Dobie, head coach for Manitoba Bisons Football, in a previous interview with CTV News Winnipeg. “Stan Pierre, our defensive coordinator, turned to me and said, ‘Shame on us if we can’t turn this kid into a football player.'”

And turn him into a football player they did. Onyemata was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL draft, and he quickly established himself as one of the league’s most promising young defensive linemen.

Now, he has signed a massive contract with the Atlanta Falcons, who are hoping that Onyemata can help them improve on their disappointing 2022 season. The team finished with a record of just 7-10, missing the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.

The Falcons are hoping that Onyemata can be a key piece of their defensive puzzle, helping them to shut down opposing offenses and win more games. And if he continues to play at the level he has shown in recent years, he could be a bargain for the team at $35 million over three years.

Source: CTV news (/Kayla Rosen) 

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