Fall 2021 SS Magazine

AFC Defensive Player of the Week Odafe Oweh silencing critics, says Baltimore is 'where God wanted' him

The Baltimore Ravens’ decision to take linebacker Odafe Oweh with the 31st overall pick in April’s draft was characterized by many talent evaluators as a risky one. Oweh didn’t record a single sack in seven games in his final season at Penn State, and he’d only been playing football for five years when he entered the NFL draft.

>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more stories where sports and faith connect <<

The raw athletic ability was obvious, as his five-sack season for the Nittany Lions in 2019 suggested. The question was whether Oweh could turn his potential into a successful career in the NFL.

Baltimore believed the answer was yes, and Oweh has immediately rewarded the organization for the faith it showed in him.

He picked up his first sack in the team’s season-opening loss to the Las Vegas Raiders while recording two tackles and two quarterback hits.

It was Oweh’s Week 2 performance against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs that garnered national attention though. With the Chiefs driving in the game’s final 90 seconds and the Ravens holding onto a 36-35 lead, he stripped the ball from Kansas City running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and recovered the fumble to seal the victory.

His win-clinching play and three total tackles earned Oweh AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

“That’s the kind of play that we envisioned [Oweh] making when we drafted him,” head coach John Harbaugh said after Sunday’s game. “And that’s the kind of play that he and I talked about him making this week as we were preparing … For him to come up and make that play in that situation is just, it’ll be remembered for the rest of our lives.”

Oweh was quick to redirect the praise to God in his postgame press conference.

“I give all glory to God,” he said. “I just try to work hard every day in practice, try to work on what I’m going to see in the game and then just try to ball out and put it all in God’s hands in the game. So, obviously, I want to impact the game, every game I play, but I’m just out there ‘hooping,’ just trying to play.”

The Hackensack, New Jersey, native, whose Twitter bio simply says, “All Glory To God,” regularly references his faith on social media.

One of the standout rookies so far this season, Oweh isn’t worried about trying to justify his status as a first-round pick and silence his doubters. He believes he is right where God intended him to be.

“In my mind, I feel like I went right where I was supposed to be,” Oweh told the team’s official website after the draft. “I don’t feel like I snuck into anything, but I feel like Baltimore is my home, was where I was supposed to be, where God wanted me to be.”

Oweh and the Ravens travel to Detroit this week for Sunday’s Week 3 meeting with the Lions. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.

RELATED STORIES:
WATCH: ‘Weekly Slant’ w/ New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty
— Rams WR Cooper Kupp finds freedom in Christ: ‘Results rest in Him’
— Carolina head coach Matt Rhule leads Panthers to 2-0 start as he’s led by Christ
Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly hosts monthly men’s group to spread light of Christ
— Titans RB Darrynton Evans gets baptized, engaged in same week