Romeo Okwara went to Ardrey Kell High School in North Carolina and was rated as a three-star recruit. He would end up committing to Notre Dame where he would stay in a backup role as an outside linebacker until his junior year. Romeo was switched to defensive end for his junior year and he excelled at the new position. Instead of being sidelined with a new position, he started 12 of 13 games and was given an expanded role in the Irish defense. Okwara would go on to stay at Notre Dame for his senior year before entering the 2016 NFL Draft.
Although talented and hard working, Romeo Okwara ended up going undrafted. He would be signed by the New York Giants not long after the draft. Okwara would play for the Giants during the 2016 NFL season and even started in the absence of Jason Pierre-Paul against the Dallas Cowboys in week 14. The Giants would waive Okwara in 2018 after 2 years and a stint on injured reserve.
The Detroit Lions would claim him off of waivers the following day. Instead of letting the release get to him, Romeo would get to work and start 15 games for the Lions. Soon after the season was over Okwara signed a two year extension. The addition worked out for both the Lions and Romeo with a ten sack 2020 season. In March of 2021 he would sign another extension for three years and $39 million.
Injuries and the Ed Block Courage Award
In October of 2021 Romeo Okwara tore his Achilles and was placed on injured reserve. He underwent an initial surgery that didn’t fix the issue and set his recovery back. Five months later he underwent another surgery that negated his previous months of rehab. He would make a return to the field in late 2022 and would finish the year with two sacks and eight tackles.
Thirteen months of strenuous rehab and setbacks couldn’t stop him from returning to the field and he has been recognized by his peers for it. With his dedication and hard work Romeo Okwara was nominated by his teammates to be the 2022 Ed Block Courage Award for the Detroit Lions.