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CJ Okoye Named Rich Eisen's No. 1 Preseason Standout Performer

Buzz 08.15

It's hard to find a better moment from Week 1 of the preseason than CJ Okoye's debut on Saturday night.

Okoye, a 6-foot-6, 315-pound defensive lineman from Nigeria, was allocated to the Bolts as part of the NFL's International Pathway Program this offseason.

Not only was Saturday his first ever professional game, but it was also his first ever organized football game — and the defensive lineman made sure to make it even more unforgettable.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Rams faced a third-and-19 when Okoye executed a stunt and cleaned up a Bolts pressure with a sack for a loss of 16 yards. The sack sent the Chargers sideline into a frenzy, as teammates rushed down the sideline to celebrate.

Okoye's story and moment on Saturday made waves around the NFL including with Rich Eisen, who named it his No. 1 standout performance of the first week of the preseason during Monday's episode of the "Rich Eisen Show".

Eisen marveled at Okoye's sack, and even shared a story from NFL Network's and Chargers radio color commentator Daniel Jeremiah behind his sack dance.

"Again, a sack in his first organized football game," Eisen said during his show. "He started doing football three years ago in Nigeria.

"Daniel Jeremiah told me the day before the game, the defensive line went up to him and said, 'You've got to have a sack dance,'" Eisen added. "And he practiced it in the meeting rooms just in case he got in the game. And he sacks Stetson Bennett and does the sack dance. And it's his first organized football game.

Eisen continued: "Now that's a standout performance for Preseason Week 1."

As if his debut couldn't get any better, Okoye was awarded a game ball in the locker room following the game.

Chargers Defensive Coordinator Derrick Ansley spoke about the moment during Monday's media availability, praising the work Okoye has put in to put himself in position and what the moment was like for the team.

"This guy has come a long way. It was incredible to see that," Ansley said. "I don't know if you guys saw the reaction from the sideline, I think that really answers it for you, and for me.

"CJ has worked tremendously hard to be able to go out there and execute in the football game — a professional football game," Ansley later added. "I think that the execution of that stunt that he did, it wasn't just a straight rush, he had some layers that he had to go in there and execute. I think that the energy and the enthusiasm that the veteran players showed when he made that sack, I mean, they beat the coaches out there. CJ is doing a really good job. We're happy for him."

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