Efe Obada will do anything to help Buffalo Bills win as he reveals mentor Ron Rivera tried to sign him in Washington
- Efe Obada signed for the Buffalo Bills on a one-year-deal worth $1.5m
- The defensive end joins the AFC East champions after his best season
- Obada spent four years in Carolina, three under head coach Rivera
- Washington, Seattle, Dallas and Carolina also made offers for 6ft 6in Obada
Efe Obada turned down the chance to work with mentor Ron Rivera in Washington, opting instead for Buffalo to try and win a championship.
After his best season – which saw him record 5.5 sacks despite playing just 39 per cent (415) of total defensive snaps – the Carolina Panthers opted not to tender the 6ft 6in defensive end as a restricted free agent, hoping to re-sign him for less money.
But with offers from Dallas, Seattle and Washington also on the table, Obada decided to join a long list of former Carolina staffers in Buffalo.
Efe Obada bade farewell to Carolina and starts a new chapter in his life with the Buffalo Bills
The Bills landed Obada on a one-year deal which could be worth up to $1.5m, according to Spotrac.
‘I had a few offers, a few teams that were interested. It came down to a decision between Washington and Buffalo,’ Obada said.
‘Obviously, Washington would’ve been a connection with Ron Rivera, the fact that he gave me my start and the fact that he’s a great man. He makes you not just a better player but a better man.
‘Ultimately, I felt like I made the right decision coming to Buffalo, with the fans and the culture.’
Obada enjoyed an excellent relationship with Rivera, who was head coach of the Panthers from 2011-2019. In his nine seasons he compiled a record of 76-63-1 in the regular season and a 3-4 in postseason, taking them to Super Bowl 50.
He left to join the Washington Football Team and took them to the playoffs in his first season, albeit courtesy of an 7-9 record in the NFC East, the NFL’s weakest division.
The Bills landed Obada on a one-year deal which could be worth up to a reported $1.5m
Matt Rhule replaced him as Panthers coach and ended up cutting Obada at the beginning of last season, before swiftly re-signing him a day later.
As the poster boy of the NFL’s International Pathway Programme, Obada spent four years in Carolina. But he found his first experience of being an unrestricted free agent to be nerve-wracking.
‘I was excited – before I went through it,’ he said Obada. ‘It was an emotional rollercoaster, I enjoyed it, it was a good experience… no, honestly it was stressful!
‘I’m trying to sugarcoat it but it was stressful, everything was up in the air.
‘But I feel like I landed in the right place and I made a good decision for my future and my family.’
The Carolina Panthers opted not to tender the 6ft 6in defensive end as a restricted free agent, hoping to re-sign him for less money – but their gamble didn’t pay off and he has departed
Like Obada, Buffalo are on an upward curve, steadily progressing each year under the stewardship of former Panthers defensive co-ordinator Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane, who joined in 2017.
Last season, Buffalo won the AFC East for the first time since 1995 and reached the AFC Championship, losing to the Kansas City Chiefs.
With the likes of former team-mates Vernon Butler and Mario Addison on the defensive line, Obada will do all it takes to make plays.
‘I’m coming in, I’m going to buy into the process,’ he adds. ‘I know the standard, I know what’s demanded of me and what’s required of me.
‘I’m here to do whatever it takes to help this team win, whether it’s on defense, special teams, whatever. That’s been my mentality throughout my whole career.’