HoustonTexans.com reported Wednesday that the Houston Texans signed Adimchinobe Echemandu to the practice squad. He’s the fifth Texan player born in Nigeria along with DT Amobi Okoye, DE Ndukwe Kalu, WR Gbolahan Devin Aromashodu, and RB Samkon Gado.
Echemandu was the seventh round pick for Cleveland out of California. Before the season, “Joe” Echemandu was an early favorite in mini-camps and landed a spot on the Oakland Raiders’ roster. The Bear graduate, with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, was cut by the Raiders last week to make room for RB Dominic Rhodes, and perhaps rookie Michael Bush. Echemandu was with the Raiders for two seasons, and practiced on the opposite side of his cousin, standout CB Nnamdi Asomugah. In his fourth NFL season, he ran for the Raiders and hoped his playing time would come while Rhodes sat with an increased suspension. Rhodes makes his debut this week for Oakland, but by the end of Raiders mini-camps, HC Lane Kiffin was worried about the championship winning back picking up the playbook while he was impressed with Echemandu. The Contra Costa Times quoted Raiders HC Lane Kiffin, “Joe had a really good camp. Actually, we used a phrase two nights ago to our coaches, that he might be the surprise player of the camp, as far as coming in and doing things right and really working extremely hard running the ball and taking care of it.” Echemandu’s playing time hopes were stalled when RB Lamont Jordon heated up in a new Oakland offense before an injury sidelined him two weeks ago. Echemandu was cut last Friday and cleared waivers before the Texans signed Texans him Wednesday. The 5’10” 225lb. back could be an answer to the Texans RB woes if he continues on his could-be-momentous season.
Okoye, the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Month for September, was the Texans first round pick in 2007. The Louisville manchild has been an excellent addition having already recorded 4 sacks, one force fumbled and 14 total tackles in five games. He’s able to stay low with his beneficial lower body strength, pass offensive lineman, and attack with powerful tackles. Being the youngest player drafted in the NFL, Okoye is proving the Texans’ general management right for making the Shaub deal with the Atlanta Falcons.
Kalu, who attended high school in San Antonio, played a pivotal role on the Philadelphia Eagles defense from 2001-2005. The 10 year veteran broke his hand and played in a cast early in the season. He sat out Week 4 because the cast was bothersome, but he returned last week. He continues to be a work horse and leader for the young Texans defense.
Aromashodu was the seventh round pick out of Auburn for the Miami Dolphins in the 2006 NFL Draft. He recorded a 4.35 40-yard dash and has the height and jumping ability to catch in the NFL. Many draft opinions said he was inconsistent at Auburn, although he played in a prolific offense while catching QB Jason Campbell’s passes while with RBs Ronnie Brown (Dolphins), Caddilac Williams (Buccaneers) and WR Ben Obomanu (Seahawks). The Texans picked up Aromshodu in September could sometime fill in for an injured WR corps.
Gado, the RB out of Liberty, was not drafted in the 2005 NFL Draft. He was picked up by Kansas City in September of 2005 and was nicknamed the “Nigerian Nightmare” after K.C. Chief legendary running back, Christian Okoye. Later that year signed with the Green Bay Packers and made his presence known on a Mike Sherman offense behind the injured Ahman Green and Najeh Davenport. Gado was signed in October of 2005 and saw increasing to starting playing time for the injured Packers run game. Rushing that season he had 143 attempts for 582 yards and six touchdowns. His receiving numbers included 10 catches, 77 yards and one touchdown. Offensive Coordinator Mike Sherman and starting RB Ahman “Batman” Green are part of the Texans today. Gado has seen playing time this year and continues to be the third string back behind Ahman Green and Ron Dayne. Gado took the MCAT this year and looks forward to becoming a medical missionary in Nigeria. He’s a back with good vision and should continue to help the Texans run game this season.
Gado, Kalu and Okoye have already played for the Texans while Aromashodu and Echemandu look to earn playing time off the practice squad this season. Look out for the five Nigeria born Texans to make an impact this season if you haven’t already!