The Detroit Lions announced Wednesday they are starting the clock on defensive end Romeo Okwara.  The seventh-year veteran suited up for practice for the first time since 2021.

Okwara suffered a season-ending Achilles injury just over a year ago in Week 4 of the 2021 season.  He’s been listed on the Physically Unable to Perform list since the beginning of the 2022 season.  Through many months of rehab and training, he is finally ready to return.  Activating his 21-day clock means the Lions have until December 7th to activate him.

Head Coach Dan Campbell spoke on his injury status about a month ago.

“Yeah, that’s the plan. And he is progressing. He’s doing a good job. There again, the Achilles just happened at a different rate, but he’s doing a good job and you guys know Rome’s. I mean he puts in the work now, but it’s coming, it’s just when he’s ready, he’ll be out there.”

From Nigeria to the NFL

Okwara was born in Nigeria where he lived until he was 10 years old.  His family moved to the United States and he attended Ardrey Kell High School in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The defensive end would then move to Indiana where he would play four seasons at the University of Notre Dame.

In his college career, he totaled 112 total tackles, 11 sacks, and three forced fumbles in 51 games.  He played linebacker and on special teams while leading his team to the National Championship game in his freshman season.  In his senior season, he helped lead the team to the 2016 Fiesta Bowl.

He was signed by the New York Giants after going undrafted in the 2016 NFL Draft.  He would play two seasons with the Giants before signing with the Detroit Lions.

History with the Lions

In his four seasons with Detroit, Okwara has played in 49 games totaling 117 tackles, 20 sacks, five forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and two blocked kicks.  His best season so far was in 2020 when he tallied 44 total tackles, 10 sacks, three forced fumbles, his only fumble recovery, and his only two blocked kicks.

After that season, Okwara signed a three-year, $39-million contract extension with the Lions.  An extension many fans were excited about until four games into the 2021 season when he tore his Achilles.

Family Ties

Romeo’s brother Julian, who also played at Notre Dame, also plays for the Detroit Lions.  Julian was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 2020 NFL Draft.  This is the brothers’ third season together.

Other Roster Moves

The Detroit Lions also started the clock on wide receiver DJ Chark.  Chark was placed on the Injured/Reserved list on October 22nd with an ankle injury.

Up Next

The Detroit Lions head to New York for their Week 11 matchup with the Giants on Sunday.

Maddy Miller – Detroit Lions Beat Reporter

On Twitter: @madelynvmillerr

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

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By Published On: November 16th, 2022Categories: Detroit Lions, NFL

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