Praise Olatoke wants to show the world Scotland's power in the NFL

The Scottish-Nigerian athlete has signed a multi-million dollar contract with the Los Angeles Chargers.

Praise Olatoke thought his chance at NFL stardom had passed by after being rejected by the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 24-year-old former Scotland sprinter returned home and was plotting his next steps away from American football when he was handed a second chance to impress, this time with the Los Angeles Chargers.

This time Olatoke’s performances in a training camp earned him a three year contract worth up to $3m.

A product of the NFL’s international performance pathway (IPP), Olatoke was plucked from athletics to try his hand at American football earlier this year.

Olatoke said: “After IPP there were a couple of teams who reached out – one them obviously was the Eagles and I went to their rookie mini-camp but that didn’t work out there.

“A few weeks later the Chargers reached out to me and said they’d be interested in bringing me to their mini-camp.

“I flew out and essentially just trained with them for three days, jumped in on drills and some plays.

“At first I wasn’t sure what was going on because they had only sent me a one way ticket!

“I asked them on the second to last day ‘am I going back home?’ and nobody could give a straight answer.

“On the last day one of the staff told me I had a meeting with the general manager.

“I walked in and saw the GM and a couple of other people there and they basically said ‘we like you, we think we want to take a chance on you, so if you are up for it and you are willing to work, we want to sign you’.

“That day, within an hour an half they offered me a contract and I am a Charger.

“To be very candid, after I got back from Philadelphia I didn’t know if the NFL was going to work out for me.

“I spent two or three weeks decompressing from football, reflecting on what I wanted to do and starting to make moves on my next adventure.

“I didn’t know where life was going next. I still hoped that football would work out but as the days passed on it looked very slim.

“So, that is that. I am up for anything. I don’t limit myself on what I think I can do.”

Olatoke will return to LA next month for full training camp and begin his quest to make the cut for the Chargers’ 53 man roster for the season.

The 6ft 2in, 205lb athlete has trained as a wide receiver and can play as a kick return specialist.

As a player from overseas, he does not count against the 90-man limit for the off-season training activities and if he falls short of the final roster he can sign for the team’s practice squad and continue to hone his skills within the elite setting of the Chargers organisation.

For now, the former young Scottish athlete of the year, is planning to spend time with his family in Renfrewshire and relax before the hard yards begin in California.

Olatoke said: “I have had a tonne of folk from Scotland get in touch. People from primary school, high school, all that.

“I am going back to Scotland now so I am going to be able to see a bunch of people and show love.

“Especially on the world stage, Scotland is known as like ‘that pretty country with the golf’.

“I think there is so much untapped potential in Scotland and I am a product of that.

“From Cardonald Primary School where I learned how to properly speak English, to St Columbas and Bellahouston High – I grew up and I learned how to be myself in Scotland.

“There’s that saying ‘people make Scotland’ and they are the people who made me.

“I have seen how powerful Scotland can be, and it is not a very influential country, but it has so much raw energy, passion and gravitas that can come from Scotland.

“That is something I really want to show the world – we are small but we are still mighty.”

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