Heading into the 2021 season, Jeff Okudah was excited about a fresh start with the Detroit Lions after a rough rookie season under the “guidance” of “defensive guru” Matt Patricia. Unfortunately, Okudah's season came to an end almost as quickly as it started as he suffered a torn Achilles in Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers.
Fast forward to the present and Okudah is not only back from his Achilles injury but he is playing very well for a Lions defense that needs him dearly.
On Sunday, Jeff Okudah was charged with the tall task of defending Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl wide receiver, Justin Jefferson and though the Detroit Lions lost the game, Okudah won his battle with one of the top wide receivers in the NFL.
In fact, Okudah was lights out as Jefferson finished the day with just three catches for 14 yards.
Jeff Okudah is proud but knows his ‘works not finished’
Jeff Okudah spoke to reporters prior to the season and he said that did absolutely everything in his power to come back to the Lions healthy.
“I was in California, Atlanta, Dallas, Canada. I was out here (in Detroit) for a little bit,” Okudah said. “Just looking for the best of the best. People that had the most experience with what I dealt with, and, honestly, to give myself the best (chance to rehab). I mean, you could do everything you can, but it’s really out of your control. So I tried to give myself the best chance to come back healthy.”
Okudah also spoke about what it was like to come back to football after 11 months without playing competitively.
“It’s just more of a feel thing,” Okudah said. “Just feeling things out and letting the game come to you, rather than maybe going out of your way to make a play. Just staying within your lane.”
“I think the work that I invested into that process definitely is paying dividends right now,” Okudah said. “So I’m just kind of trying to enjoy the fruits of my labor, honestly.”
Though Jeff Okudah is proud of what he has accomplished, he does not think he’s come close to reaching his goals.
“I try not to be too hard on myself and just be a little bit proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish, but with that being said, I still try to keep the mentality of ‘work’s not finished,’” Okudah said. “We still have a lot more to accomplish. So I’m proud, but at the same time, I’m still as motivated as ever for some reason, because I don’t think I’ve come close to accomplishing my goals.”
Nations, what are your expectations for Jeff Okudah moving forward?