Okwara, who played in South Bend from 2012-2015, was a surprise cut Tuesday by the New York Giants. The NFC East basement dwellers had employed the 6-foot-4, 274 pound end since signing him as an undrafted free agent in May 2016.
The Nigerian-born Okwara played in all 16 games in 2016, and recorded 28 tackles, a sack and two passes defensed. A knee injury shortened his 2017 campaign to just six games, during which he tallied just three tackles.
Okwara is the older brother of current Notre Dame junior defensive lineman Julian Okwara.
The Lions already feature three Notre Dame players:
- TJ Jones, who has caught 45 balls for 624 yards and two touchdowns in three seasons with the Lions. Jones played for the Irish from 2010 to 2013, and was a sixth-round pick of Detroit in the 2014 NFL Draft.
- Theo Riddick, a running back and slot receiver who has rushed 248 times for 852 times and five touchdowns and caught 224 passes for 1,854 yards and 14 touchdowns in five seasons. Riddick, a member of the Irish’s 2009-2012 squads, was the Lions’ sixth-round pick in 2013.
- Golden Tate, who has tallied 537 receptions for 6,419 yards and 34 touchdowns in eight seasons with the Seattle Seahawks and Lions. Tate was the Seahawks’ second round selection in the 2010 draft after leaving Notre Dame following his junior season.
Okwara received his degree from the Mendoza College of Business in January 2016, while Riddick and Jones were May 2013 and January 2014 graduates of the College of Arts & Letters, respectively. Tate was 30 hours short of graduating when he decided to forgo his senior year.
The Lions’ 2018 schedule is stacked with matchups against former Irish players, including Mike McGlinchey, Sheldon Day, Zack Martin, Jaylon Smith, Equanimeous St. Brown, DeShone Kizer, Sam Young, C.J. Prosise, Harrison Smith, Kyle Rudolph, JJ Jansen and John Sullivan. Check out the details here.