CHARLOTTE -- On a sunny Sunday afternoon against Cincinnati, Efe Obada's inspiring story added its latest chapter.
Obada became the first player from the NFL's International Pathway Program to suit up in the regular season and did so in style, coming away with a sack and an interception in the Panthers' 31-21 victory over the Bengals. Seeing Obada's hard work pay off was a big moment not only for the Nigerian-born defensive end but also for the organization as a whole. Following the victory, many chimed in on Obada's sensational start to his NFL career.
QB Cam Newton: "Opportunity. Opportunity knocked on his door and he opened it smiling. ...He's very intellectual, super smart, practices extremely hard, and for him to kind of be a developmental player, not having the big university - just the guy that came aboard...to see him have a day like today, the sky's the limit for him."
DE Julius Peppers: "Everyone, the whole team is proud of him. He's built very well. A lot of power, a lot of speed. The most important thing is that he works at his craft every day. He took the hard road. He grinded it out. I'm just really happy for him. Everybody is showing him a lot of love and he deserves it."
GM Marty Hurney: "He played incredible. He's got length. He's got a pass-rush skill set. Ron (Rivera) has been talking about him for a long time. For a guy to come in at this stage and make the plays he did with the little amount of football he's played – just think of the upside he's got."
LB Shaq Thompson: "Efe did a hell of a job today...Efe showed up, couple of sacks, a pick. You could tell by the way he works. He does that in practice and it shows up in the game.
"We knew he was going to go out there and perform. He does it in practice and it was just a matter of time for him to get activated. He did a great job today. We're just excited for him."
DT Kyle Love: "That's what I call the American dream. Show up and show out. That's what he did. I'm proud of him. It made me so happy to see him make the team and then come in and make an impact for the team…That's beautiful, man. He's picked it up fast and it's showing. Hard work definitely pays off."
S Mike Adams: "I'm so happy for him. He was screaming, 'They don't know me, they don't know me.' And I'm like, 'You're right, they don't know you. You're from London, you're from London,' so making jokes with him. I'm just so happy for him. To put it all in perspective, he worked hard, he worked his butt off. He's finally got an opportunity, he made the best of it."
CB James Bradberry: "I'm proud of him. He played a hell of a game. For a guy to come over and not play football that long, to be able to make an impact on this team, I'm proud of him."
OT Chris Clark: "He did a really good job. I was congratulating him on what he was doing and I was making sure he knew from the offensive side that we were excited for him. We came in and celebrated. He works really hard at practice so to see that happen, it wasn't a shocker at all. He works extra hard. He's going to be a great D-end in this league."
DE Mario Addison: "That guy has worked hard. His character speaks for itself. I'm probably more happy for him than he is. Making it from where he's from is slim to none. For him to get out here, his first game and do that, man, that's love. And he hasn't even scratched the surface yet. This is just the first game. He's got so much more in him. I'm just proud of him. I'm expecting great things from Efe.
"When I looked at him (after the game), couldn't do nothing but smile. He couldn't do nothing but smile. Efe's got a chrome tooth, you know when he's smiling 'cause it hits you. He lets that chrome shine."