British Olympian Lawrence Okoye, who has never played football, is placing his discus career and acceptance into law school on hold for a $3,000 commitment from the 49ers.
Okoye, who is hoping to make the transition to NFL defensive lineman, signed a standard three-year contract as an undrafted free agent with the 49ers last week. The only guaranteed money is a $3,000 signing bonus, a source told CSNBayArea.com.
Like most NFL contracts, the yearly base salaries of $405,000 in 2013, $495,000 in 2014 and $585,000 in 2015 will be paid to Okoye only if he makes the 53-man rosters in those seasons.
Okoye was one of 11 players the 49ers signed last week to their 90-man offseason roster. The paperwork for Okoye, linebacker-turned-fullback Alex Debniak (Stanford) and tackle Luke Marquardt (Azusa Pacific) was approved on Friday.
According to a source, the 49ers' top-paid undrafted free agents are defensive backs Darryl Morris (Texas State) and Lowell Rose (Tulsa). Both players received $8,000 signing bonuses.
Okoye is the most intriguing of the new players. He attended two NFL regional combines while stationed in Atlanta to train. He measured 6 foot 6, 305 pounds, and reportedly ran the 40-yard dash in 4.88 and 4.78 seconds.
Okoye, 21, was a rugby player who began throwing the discus at 18 years old. Two years later, he set the British record and was a finalist in the Olympics. He has deferred his acceptance to the Oxford School of Law until 2017 to pursue a career in the NFL.