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Booty Call
Joe Lemire
June 04, 2007
Christian Okoye jumps aboard a new pirate show
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June 04, 2007

Booty Call

Christian Okoye jumps aboard a new pirate show

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REALITY WRAP UP

CHRISTIAN OKOYE played his entire NFL career with the Kansas City Chiefs, but now he's become a buccaneer. The former running back is a contestant on Pirate Master ( CBS on May 31, 8 p.m.), a floating reality show set in the Caribbean. The show—the latest creation of Mark Burnett, the man behind Survivor and The Apprentice—places 16 competitors aboard a 179-foot ship. Grouped in teams, they spend 33 days deciphering clues and racing to find buried treasure; they also must avoid being "cut adrift" at the end of each episode. The winner gets a $500,000 grand prize. Okoye, the only celebrity on a cast whose members include a receptionist, two bartenders and a glass blower, says that before he signed up for the show, "I just made sure I still remembered how to swim."

Okoye, 45, was the NFL's leading rusher in 1989 and made two Pro Bowls in his six seasons before retiring in '93 with a knee injury. Now living in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., he works as a television studio analyst for Oakland Raiders broadcasts. ("Some of [ Oakland's fans] are upset that a Chief is talking about their Raiders," he says.) He also runs a fitness and nutrition company and the Christian Okoye Foundation, which gives free sports clinics and business tutorials to underprivileged kids.

Okoye, who jogs, bicycles and lifts weights to keep in shape, says he readied himself to be a pirate in the Caribbean by "watching a few Johnny Depp movies." He came away from the show—taping is complete, but he can't say how he did—with respect for this new kind of competition. "Preparing for football is a little easier," he says. "It's all physical. You bang heads, and then go home and take Tylenol."

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