A Familar Face: Oni Omoile Joins Cousin In Silver And Black

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Guard Oni Omoile

For an undrafted rookie walking into an NFL training facility for the first time, there are few things more reassuring than seeing a familiar face walking the halls – particularly if that face belongs to your cousin.

That's precisely the scenario that unfolded for Oni Omoile earlier this week when he walked into the Raiders' facility and was welcomed by his cousin, offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele.

"It's honestly a pretty great feeling because one of my biggest worries was coming to a place where I didn't know anyone and I had to start over again," said Omoile. "Just having him here definitely helps me feel a little more comfortable than otherwise."

Omoile, like Osemeli, played his college football at Iowa State, and after going undrafted in the 2016 NFL Draft, the versatile lineman signed a free agent deal with the Silver and Black after several conversations with offensive line coach Mike Tice.

"He [Tice] said he really saw a lot of potential in me," Omoile said. "He really liked how I moved. He said there's a great opportunity for me here to play as a center so I was really excited about that, and obviously, I get to play with my cousin K.O."

The mere fact that Omoile is joining his cousin on an NFL roster in incredible enough, but even more so when you realize that the pair met for the first time just six years ago, at Omoile's official visit to Iowa State.

"Our parents hadn't met each other in over 20 years," Omoile explained. "My parents and his parents got together and reunited over that. I had no idea we were even related until that happened. We didn't even know that we were distantly related until we talked about it. It was very bizarre. I did not see that coming at all, honestly."

And now, the two are teammates, and not only does Osemele provide Omoile with a sense of familiarity, but he also provides an excellent example of how to work and prepare to play at a high level on Sundays.

When asked about what he admires the most about his cousin's game, Omoile didn't hesitate – his strength.

"Brute strength, just absolutely blowing guys off the ball," Omoile explained. "It's not even once, it's a consistent thing. He does it almost every play. [It's] unreal to see it play after play, just him getting after guys."

While Omoile did admit, that as it stands now, Osemeli would probably beat him in an arm wrestling competition, the Coppell, Texas, native does have a trump card he can play over his cousin, and it's a hard one to top.

Oni Omoile is a Nigerian prince.

"It's not as big of a deal as you think," Omoile said with a laugh. "There's a line of ascension, and my family is really distant. One, my family moved to America, and two, there's more people in line in front of me who would become King if the current one were to pass away, but by definition, I am technically a prince."

Royalty or not, Omoile realizes what a unique opportunity he has in front of him, not only to live out his NFL dreams, but to do so with his cousin as a teammate.

So, if he was told six years ago that this scenario would play out – that he would be joining his cousin on the offensive line of the Oakland Raiders, would Omoile have believed it?

"I wouldn't have believed you honestly," Omoile chuckled. "I would have been pretty happy though that I made it to the league, but to be on the same team with [Osemele], especially after what he's already done so far in the league, it's amazing honestly."

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