Amobi Okoye Comments on Health, Potential NFL Comeback, More

Brian Marron@@brianmarron398Featured ColumnistMay 6, 2016

Amobi Okoye is attempting a remarkable NFL comeback.
Amobi Okoye is attempting a remarkable NFL comeback.Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

Amobi Okoye, a former first-round pick of the Houston Texans, said he is preparing for another comeback after overcoming a terrifying illness.

Per Aaron Wilson of the Houston ChronicleOkoye said he is up to 300 pounds and back in football shape. The 28-year-old is working out with former Texans running back Arian Foster, who is recovering from an Achilles injury. Considering where Okoye was just three years ago, this is astonishing.

In 2013, just six years after being selected 10th overall in the NFL draft by Houston as a 19-year-old, Okoye was in the hospital with an autoimmune disease called anti-NMDA receptor ecephalitis. The condition struck him during workouts, causing convulsions and eventually putting him into a medically induced coma for three months.

He temporarily lost his ability to speak and had to relearn other basic functions such as walking.

"I'm a walking miracle," Okoye said, per Wilson. "It took a while to finally diagnose what was going on with me. They never actually found a cause, but they knew how to treat it. There was a lot of trial and error."

From 2007 to 2010, Okoye missed only two regular-season games with the Texans, racking up 11 sacks, including 5.5 in his rookie season. He then played two seasons in Chicago before the illness hit. Okoye was cut in 2015 by the Dallas Cowboys after spending 2014 on the non-football-illness list.  

ESPN's Adam Schefter posted a video of Okoye's comeback workouts, which showed the Katy, Texas, resident can still move well for a 300-pound man:

"Football is what I love to do," Okoye said, per Wilson. "It's a passion of mine. I'm still young and I can pursue it, so why not play? It's my passion. It's my love. When the time comes and a team calls, I'll be ready. I definitely have a few more years in me to play."

Whether or not he can complete this comeback, the fact that Okoye is healthy, much less working out at an NFL level, after going through such a scary medical ordeal is remarkable.

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