Big League Friendship: Sophomore builds close ties to former Packer

By: Tehya Tournier

It was the summer of 2011, and my family and I were making our annual trip to Wisconsin. We always look forward to attending training camp and seeing the community that the players are surrounded by. I was expecting just any football player to choose my bike to ride. At training camp they have a longstanding tradition of riding bikes from the locker room to the practice field. No one seems to know when or how it started, but we do know that Vince Lombardi, former coach from 1959-1967, wanted a strong connection between the players and the fans.

Little did I know that after Ekenemchukwu (better known as KC) Asiodu picked my bike, my life would be forever changed. We would grow to become closer by that one moment in Green Bay, Wisc., at Packer training camp.

“It was a dream come true. Since I was 15 years old, every decision I made all revolved around making it to the NFL, so when I got there, it was like football heaven,” Asiodu said.

He was born and raised in southern California where he currently lives. He played college football at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and University of Central Oklahoma. He then went undrafted to the the St. Louis Rams and was also a member of the Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.

“Now I own a fitness gym in the L.A. area where we train young athletes and everyday people,” Asiodu said. ”Mainly we focus on young athletes, helping them advance their careers. I will also be in school, getting my masters in social work as I plan to be a therapist and continue my work to help people. I have a strong desire to help people.”

Asiodu confessed that it was a very hard decision to stop playing, and it’s a process. He said most guys are forced out or are pushed out or their bodies just doesn’t do it anymore.  He experienced a number of injuries; two torn hips, two torn pecs, a torn shoulder, back problems, neck problems and series of concussions.

“It came to the point when I was just constantly trying to rebuild my body, and it just became too much,” Asiodu said. “I didn’t really quit. I didn’t decide to walk away. My body was unable to perform at that level due to all the injuries and all the blows it’s taken. I was forced to make the decision not to play because of my numerous injuries.”

According to the NFL Players Association, the average length of a playing career ranges from three to about six years.  For a player who is a first round draft choice, the average would be close to nine years. Asiodu played in the NFL for five years, and he said that he would have loved to play until he turned 32, but, sadly, that wasn’t possible.

“Do I miss it?” Asiodu asked. “Of course, every day. I do not miss the uncertainty and the unstableness of being a player on the bubble, but I miss the competitiveness. I miss competing and physically dominating people. I miss the workouts of pushing yourself to your limit and past your limit. What I miss most though is the brotherhood. People don’t understand how close you can get with the guys you play with. And the locker room. It’s a unique place. It’s like a sanctuary of men. We just talk, trash, gossip, hang out, tell jokes, bag on each other, play the best music. I remember that like it was yesterday.”

Asiodu shared since he isn’t playing anymore he is working really hard at his gym and is ready to go back to school. He also said in his free time in California there are endless opportunities for someone to do. Asiodu goes to the beach a lot, works out, hangs with his friends, listens to  and collects vinyl records, spends time with his girlfriend and drives his cars around.

Asiodu is planning on building up his gym Kilfit Athletics and having a few more within the next couple years.  He is the director of athletic development and specializes in speed and agility, sport-specific athletic training.

He also looks forward to getting his master’s and being a licensed therapist and being a family man with his now girlfriend.

Asiodu’s visit to Iowa was a fun-filled weekend that consisted of scary movies on Friday night along with ice cream from the famous 4 Queens and pizza from the OP. We then tailgated at UNI until the game started. On Sunday we attended church, and then I took Asiodu to lunch downtown at the Pump Haus followed by a tour around town.

“Well, I love it,” Asiodu said about his stay in town. “I love hanging out with you. I love your family. I’m a California boy, so I’m a big city guy with a small town heart. I love smaller towns. I love the people. I love the feel and the sense of community. I have a small town heart in my opinion, and I love genuine people, and I think sometimes you find that more here than you do on the West Coast. It’s nice when everybody knows everybody, and that’s what I like about Iowa.”

I never expected to meet someone like KC when I lined my bike up to the rack that day four and a half years ago. Soon after, we kept in contact with emails a couple times a week to texting and phone calls daily. This was his second trip to Cedar Falls, and I hope he had a wonderful time.  I wouldn’t trade last weekend or the last four and a half years for anything. He has helped me grow as a person, in my faith and helped me look at the world in a different light.  A lot of people don’t understand or simply don’t know our story, but I’m very blessed and thankful to call KC Asiodu family.

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