It’s something that Cyrus Kouandjio has been dreaming of ever since he entered the United States. After 19 years, Kouandjio is officially a US citizen.
A lot of NFL players work hard their entire life for a chance to make an impact in this league. The same goes for Cyrus Kouandjio, the Buffalo Bills’ backup offensive tackle. At the same time, Kouandjio had another dream he was working towards.
When Cyrus Kouandjio was four years old, he moved to the United States from Cameroon with his family in search of a better life and better opportunities. Since then, him and his brother, Aerie Kouandjio, have had two goals in mind: make it to the NFL and become a US citizen. As of today, the two have achieved both of those goals.
On Thursday, Cyrus joined 33 others in becoming citizens of the United Stats, which was administered by U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer at the U.S. District Courthouse in Buffalo. At the end, Kouandjio helped lead the other new citizens in the Pledge of Allegiance.
“This is such a great day,” Kouandjio said to WKBW-TV. “I’ll never forget this courtroom. I’ll never forget this city. I love Buffalo. It’s my home. I came from a really low status in a different world and to be here today standing before you guys, and I just thank God every day.”
Aerie Kouandjio, Cyrus’ brother, was part of a group that became citizens on September 13th of this year. It took a couple months longer for Cyrus, but the wait is finally over and he is officially a citizen just like the rest of us.
The Kouandjio brothers both played their college ball at Alabama, with Cyrus being selected by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft and Aerie being selected by the Washington Redskins one year later. “I had a long road to get here,” said Kouandjio. “I am so glad, I feel so blessed to be part of a country that stands for freedom and liberty.”
Cyrus Kouandjio hasn’t had the storybook NFL career so far, but has a lot of time to grow and cement himself as a valuable tackle in this league. With Jordan Mills — right tackle — not performing as good as expected and Cordy Glenn dealing with an ankle injury all season long, Kouandjio has had some chances to prove his worth.
Not to mention the injury to Eric Woods — which will keep him out the rest of the season — should give him some more time subbing in for the offensive line.
Either way, Cyrus will enter Sunday’s matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals a U.S. citizen — something he’s never been able to say in his career. The best part is, he knows exactly what becoming a citizen of this country means:
“Basically, I shared with them my experience growing up here in America and how tough it was to get here. I just wanted to tell them that I was really happy for them because I have the same joy that they have, and I know how it feels. … I love this country. Me myself, I’ll just tell you, I’m a Christian, and I feel like the forefathers of this country build this constitution around Christian values – Christian values like freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”
As he left the courtroom, he had a few words for everyone in closing: “Go Bills and Roll Tide.”
Congratulations Cyrus Kouandjio on your long journey to becoming an American citizen. You deserve every little bit of it.