Skip to main content

Arizona Cardinals Home: The official source of the latest Cardinals headlines, news, videos, photos, tickets, rosters and game day information

BJ Ojulari Representing Not Only Cardinals, But Nigeria

Altogether, 18 Cardinals taking part in NFL's heritage program

Cardinals linebacker BJ Ojulari (18) sports both the U.S. flag and the Nigerian flag on the back of his helmet this week.
Cardinals linebacker BJ Ojulari (18) sports both the U.S. flag and the Nigerian flag on the back of his helmet this week.

When rookie BJ Ojulari was given the opportunity to wear an international flag decal alongside the American flag, it was a no-brainer which he'd select: Nigeria.

"It means everything to put on for where we came from," Ojulari said. "To represent the homeland and just be out there representing the flag and dominating as well."

His family is originally from Nigeria, and Ojulari has royal bloodlines from there -- so to speak.

"My grandpa is a very well-known artist and musician in the country," Ojulari said. "It's really just a status thing when they call him Prince. It's a respect thing as well."

Ojulari's grandfather was Prince Twin Seven-Seven. He had upwards of 20 children, so it's unlikely the Cardinals linebacker will become "Prince Ojulari" any time soon.

The LSU product is OK with that. He's eager to build his own legacy in the NFL. His brother, Azeez, is also in the NFL as a member of the Giants.

Along with Ojulari, 17 other Cardinals are taking part in the NFL Heritage Program, representing 14 different countries. From Denmark to South Korea to Mexico and New Zealand players have taken great pride in their upbringing. Linebacker Jesse Luketa, Ojulari's locker mate, is representing his home country of Canada

For Ojulari, the chance to represent Nigeria, along with linebackers Victor Dimukeje and Owen Pappoe, goes beyond just beyond his familial ties.

It's also to showcase to America what Africa has to offer.

"There's a lot of talent out there that hasn't been scouted or hasn't been seen yet," Ojulari said. "Over the years, it's always going to continue to grow and more people from Africa are going to start showing up in the league and start to dominate all over the field."

The Cardinals have experience in bringing players in with international backgrounds. Tight end Bernhard Seikovits, a tight end from Austria, is on the Cardinals through the International Player Program. Last season, the Cardinals signed Haggai Chisom Ndubuisi, an offensive lineman from Nigeria.

The NFL has made a commitment to spreading the game globally, which is why teams have played games in England and Germany. The Cardinals hosted the 49ers last season in Mexico.

There hasn't been a game in Africa, but with players like Ojulari hoping to make a splash in the NFL, never say never.

"From anywhere you come from, you can make it to the NFL," Ojulari said. "The NFL is expanding all the way out to Africa. It's another opportunity to put people who don't have as many looks or opportunities in position to get where we are at.


  • G Will Hernandez (Mexico)
  • QB Kyler Murray (South Korea)
  • WR Michael Wilson (New Zealand, Jamaica)
  • DL Leki Fotu (Tonga)
  • C Hjalte Froholdt (Denmark)
  • RB Emari Demercado (Jamaica)
  • G Dennis Daley (Jamaica)
  • OLB Victor Dimukeje (Nigeria)
  • OLB BJ Ojulari (Nigeria)
  • ILB Owen Pappoe (Nigeria)
  • OLB Jesse Luketa (Canada, Democratic Republic of Congo)
  • WR Zach Pascal (Grenada)
  • CB Marco Wilson (Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago)
  • OL Trystan Colon (Puerto Rico)
  • CB Bobby Price (Puerto Rico)
  • G Elijah Wilkinson (Puerto Rico)
  • OL Keith Ismael (American Samoa)
  • TE Bernhard Seikovits (Austria).

Related Content