Veteran DE Romeo Okwara is “Stepping Away” From the NFL

Romeo Okwara with the Detroit Lions in August 2023
Romeo Okwara with the Detroit Lions in August 2023. Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto/Shutterstock (14060254i)

Former Detroit Lions defensive end Romeo Okwara will take a break from football after playing eight years as a pro. Okwara, who turns 29 in June, announced on social media that he decided to “step away” from the NFL.

Okwara played 16 games with the Lions in 2023, making nine tackles, 2.0 sacks, and five QB hits. He became a free agent at the end of the season.

“After some introspection and meditation, I have decided to step away from the NFL,” Okwara wrote on Instagram while posting a series of photos that chronicled his career. “The game of football has been the largest part of my life for the greater of 18 years, 8 of which I have been fortunate enough to play at the professional level … I am excited for what’s next as I navigate this crazy transition away from the game”

Romeo Okwara signed with the New York Giants in 2016 as an undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame. He had a promising rookie season, playing 16 games and making four starts, but ended up missing the majority of his sophomore year while dealing with a knee sprain. He was released by the Giants ahead of the 2018 season and claimed on waivers by the Lions shortly after.

During his first three years with the Lions, Okwara emerged as an important part of the team’s defense. He had his best campaign in 2020 when he made 10.0 sacks to go with 44 tackles and three forced fumbles. However, a series of injuries limited his impact since then, and he has been mostly used as a rotational piece in recent years.

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