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First of many? Okoye honored after Tuesday practice


Defensive tackle Amobi Okoye, with Texans owner Robert C. McNair, was honored by Continental Airlines CEO Larry Kellner, far right, on Tuesday afternoon.

On a plane flight, the in-flight magazine can be entertaining, usually with interesting puzzles or an interesting tidbit or two. But when you want to read about sports and forgot to pick up the Sports Illustrated *that the guy across the aisle is poring over, there's only so much *Sudoku that you can do.

For the month of August, Continental Airlines has solved that problem. The Houston-based airliner and official airline of the Houston Texans features an article on Texans rookie defensive tackle Amobi Okoye in the August issue of *Continental *magazine. On Tuesday, Continental CEO Larry Kellner dropped by the Methodist Training Center to present Okoye and Texans founder, chairman and CEO Robert C. McNair with framed, enlarged copies of the article.

Continental prints approximately 400,000 copies of the magazine each month, and an inset with Okoye's picture is on the cover of the current issue. It provides 20-year-old Okoye with exposure to the millions of Continental passengers traveling during the month of August, as football fans from Houston to Beijing get the chance to learn about the youngest player in NFL history to be drafted in the first round.

"It's a great story," Kellner said. "You read about his background, you read about what he's accomplished – I'm excited to see what he'll do for the Texans."

Okoye's youth and Nigerian upbringing made the story one that Continental wanted to tell.

"Being the official airline of the Texans, we're always looking for things to highlight," Kellner said. "I can tell you, the Texans make it easy with guys like Amobi to give you something to talk about that you know your readers will be interested in and help fire up people about the Texans."

Kellner said that he's always looking for ways to incorporate positive role models on the Texans into the airline's affairs.

"We just said, 'Gosh, that would be great for our flyers,'" Kellner said. "You would be amazed how important it is for our employees to look at the role models of Houston. (Amobi) and Bob (McNair) and the Texans provide tremendous amounts of that leadership."

"I can assure you," Kellner said to Okoye, "I first read this article before it went in, but to see it on the magazine on the airplane is so cool. And you're in a little box up at the top on the front cover, and I guarantee you that'll cause people to pick up that magazine and say, 'I want to read this.'"

McNair gave a subtle prediction for Okoye's future.

"We're really proud of Amobi," McNair said. "He is a great teammate, and we're delighted to have him on our team. He's going to do a lot of wonderful things for us, and create a lot of fun and pleasure for all of the people coming into town on Continental. We're real proud of Amobi, and perhaps this is the first of many to come."

"I really appreciate it," Okoye said to Kellner. "Thanks a lot, Continental. And to let you know, I do fly Continental a lot. Thanks a lot. This is the first of many to come – I want to keep this thing going, and hopefully there'll be more articles to write."

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