The Jeff Okudah experiment didn’t go well in Detroit. Not for the player, not for the team, and not for the fans.
Between injuries, misfit coaching style and play from Okudah that just wasn’t good enough consistently, it needed to end for all parties involved. And that’s what happened this offseason. Detroit shipped the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft to the Atlanta Falcons for pennies on the initial draft dollar.
The Lions moved on. So has Okudah. Mostly…
He’ll likely make his Falcons debut in Week 3 back in the familiar Ford Field. Okudah has been sidelined with a foot injury since training camp and he’s still not officially locked in to play, but it’s expected the Ohio State product will be active on Sunday.
Okudah is a quiet guy, and he’s clearly trying not to get too caught up in the “revenge game” drama with the Lions. He seems content to just try and get back on the field. Any field.
“In retrospect, I have to think of it in retrospect, I wouldn’t say I felt indifferent about it, but in retrospect I’m just really glad to be here,” Okudah said via Mike Rothstein of ESPN. “So I guess you could say it worked well for both sides.”
Okudah doesn’t seem bitter about his three years in Detroit. He clearly learned and grew from the star-crossed experience.
“You kind of get rid of that utopia mindset that things will always go perfect and try to just take things as they come,” Okudah said. “In this game, there’s a lot of competitors so things might not always go your way so it’s just how you respond, how you bounce back from all that.”
Even so, Okudah is fired up to head back to Detroit and face his old team.
“I think as a competitor, you naturally have a game like this circled,” Okudah said. “The environment is going to be a crazy environment. So, I mean, I can’t wait.”