British rookie trying to catch on with 49ers

By CRAIG MASSEI - Associated Press
    2013-05-10 17:40

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Lawrence Okoye was one of the last players to leave the ``pitch'' Friday afternoon - one of several things that set the big Brit apart from other newcomers at the San Francisco 49ers' rookie minicamp.

Okoye is the only rookie there who never has played a snap of organized football. He's the only one who has competed in the Olympics as a discus thrower.

And he's the only one speaking with a heavy British accent - twice referring to the practice field as a pitch, a term his knows from the rugby fields of his youth in England.

As he grew to 6-foot-6, 304 pounds, Okoye moved from rugby to track and field at age 18 and two years later set a British record with a discus throw of 224 feet.

Now he's trying to make it in the NFL with the 49ers as a gridiron novice.