Apr 082022
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New York Giants Helmet (August 20, 2016)

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The New York Giants have signed offensive lineman Chigbo Roy Mbaeteka, who is a Nigerian and part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program (IPP). The 22-year old Mbaeteka is 6’9” and 320 pounds. He has no high school or collegiate experience playing football.

“Once you see him, you know he’s physically imposing and in a year or two if you immerse him in football culture, he’s going to be fantastic,” said former Giants’ defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who helped to discover Mbaeteka in May 2021. “The Giants took a chance. Not much of a chance, I think. When you see him working, you’re going to know what he’s about.

“He is big, strong, physical, extremely intelligent, very athletic. He’s built to play offensive tackle in the league. In fact, he reminds me quite a bit of (former Giants’ right tackle) Kareem McKenzie. He has the same temperament. He’s very smart, but he’s a very athletic player.”

Mbaeteka was one of 13 players chosen to compete for a spot in the 2022 IPP, where he worked with former NFL center LeCharles Bentley. “He’s been immersed in football for the last couple of months,” Umenyiora said.

According to the Giants’ press release, one of their scouts, Jeremy Breit, was so impressed with Mbaeteka that the team flew him to New Jersey on Thursday and signed him on Friday.

“When the Giants brought him in, they took him to the board and drew things and asked him all these questions and he was able to answer them, because that’s what he’s been working on this entire time,” Umenyiora said. “He’s highly intelligent. I guess they were blown away by the fact that he was able to do all that stuff.

“A lot of people think this was me, but I had nothing to do with this,” Umenyiora said. “The Giants decided they were going to fly him in. They did this on their own. They saw him, they liked him, they flew him in yesterday, and he blew them away. They offered him a contract and here we are. For it to be the Giants of all teams, it means the world to me, it really does.

“What the Giants have done here is truly hard to put into words. There are so many people in Nigeria and in Africa who are going to see this and right now they’re going to have hope. Before, they were hopeless. They’re going to see this as hope and they’re going to start working and working toward something, however unrealistic it is. At least now, they will see that it is possible. They’ve changed the world, they really have.”

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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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