Chiefs Hall of Honor

AFL

Christian Okoye

Christian Okoye

RB

1987-1992

Born: August 16, 1961 (Enugu, Nigeria)

College: Azusa Pacific

Drafted: By Chiefs, 1987 / 2nd Rd (35th overall)

Career Highlights:

  • AFC-NFC Pro Bowl, 1989, 1991
  • All-AFC, 1989, 1991
  • All-Pro, 1989, 1991
  • NFL Rushing Leader, 1989
  • Chiefs MVP, 1989
  • Mack Lee Hill Award, 1987
  • Chiefs Hall of Fame Inductee, 2000

When he arrived in the United States on a track & field scholarship at tiny Azusa Pacific College in California in 1982, the Nigerian-born Okoye had never heard of, much less played, the sport of American football. Seven years later, the bruising, six-foot-one, 260-pound fullback was the leading rusher in the National Football League, establishing a Chiefs’ record by gaining 1,480 yards in a season. The team had moved up in the second round of the 1987 draft to select Okoye, who showed promise in his first two years as a pro before blossoming as the integral component of new coach Marty Schottenheimer’s ground-based power attack in 1989. Though he was nicknamed the “Nigerian Nightmare,” Okoye remained soft-spoken and unfailingly polite, becoming one of the team’s most popular players. Teammate Irv Eatman called him “the most humble superstar I’ve ever seen.” With his large frame and oversized shoulder pads, he was an intimidating sight for opponents. “Okoye is the kind of runner you latch onto and hope for help,” said Colts coach Ron Meyer. It’s sort of like watching a CYO football game where they give the ball to the biggest kid and he just moves the pile down the field.”

Case Objects