British defensive end Efe Obada was released by the Carolina Panthers on Sunday night following three seasons with the franchise.
Obada had been named in the 53-man squad for the upcoming season, which begins on Thursday, before being released along with two other players to make room for waiver claims.
Obada initially tweeted on Sunday: “Want to say thank you everyone you all show me so much love I really appreciate it. Grateful to make the 53 again and be able to provide for my family especially now. Honestly this is longest in my whole life that I’ve stayed in one place and just for that I’m grateful” before four hours later adding “Well that didn’t age well did it.”
The 28-year-old has been one of the few success stories from the International Player Pathway program, securing a place in the Panthers’ 53-man squad in successive campaigns. However, a change in head coach, with Matt Rhule replacing Ron Rivera, has seen him fail to make the final cut.
During Obada’s time in Carolina, he became a fan favourite, in part due to his remarkable story. Obada, a refugee from Nigeria, was trafficked to the UK from the Netherlands at the age of 10 along with his sister. They were both abandoned and left homeless in London before eventually ending up in foster care. The 6ft 6in, 18 stone Obada began playing American Football for the London Warriors, which led to his enrollment in the International Player Pathway program.
Obada has had a number of standout moments during his time in the NFL so far. In week three of his first season, Obada was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week, after recording a sack, an interception and a pass defense in a 31-21 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Another memorable moment came last year when he had a homecoming during the Panthers’ 37-26 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Obada has certainly shown enough during his career to suggest that another team could sign him. If that fails to happen, he may have to settle for a place on the Panthers’ practice squad.
Elsewhere, Christian Wade failed to make the 53-man squad for the Buffalo Bills for the second successive year. However, he will be part of their practice squad for the upcoming season.