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Check out images of rookie offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio during his first few months with the Washington Redskins.
- He spent draft weekend with his brother, a guard for the Buffalo Bills:** University of Alabama fans know the Kouandjios well, as both Cyrus and Arie played for the Crimson Tide during a period when they dominated Saturdays.
Cyrus, a consensus 2013 All-American and two-time BCS National Champion, was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
When it was time for his brother Arie to hear his name called during the 2015 NFL Draft, he was right by his side.
"I try to tell him having been through the process, whichever team you're going to you're going to go to that team," Kouandjio told Buffalobills.com. "It's not about the draft, it's about what you do once you're on a team. He's more focused on that and training every day and ready to get it over with."
2. He experienced a full-circle moment at Dulles Airport: Born in Cameroon, Kouandjio eventually moved to the United States at the age of three with his family.
They settled on Maryland as their new home and flew into Dulles Airport.
Seventeen years later, he would do the same, flying into the international airport to start his professional football career.
3. Despite all of the success he had at Alabama, he was about as excited as one could get to return to the Washington, D.C., area: You could feel his enthusiasm through the phone.
Just minutes after being drafted by the Redskins, Kouandjio was on a conference call with the Washington media corps.
He excitement overflowed from there.
"My older brother was always a big Redskins fan and it kind of just rubbed off on me growing up a little bit," he said. "Gosh, I mean, I couldn't imagine that I would be going back to D.C. Gosh, it feels so awesome, I get to play at FedExField. The only practice I've ever been to for an NFL team a few years ago was at the Redskins. So, it's awesome to be back there."
4. He has a deep appreciation for the military:During the Redskins Rookie Military Appreciation BBQ at the USO Warrior and Family Center in Bethesda, Md., Kouandjio explained that without their service, none of what teammates and he do could ever happen.
"I mean, these guys fight every day. They're fighting every day, they're fighting right now so that we can do things like play football and stuff like that," he said. "I'm from Cameroon, and not everywhere in the world is like this in America, and a large part of that is because of the servicemen and servicewomen. So I'm just very thankful, and I try to show them appreciation. They get excited when they get to me for whatever reason, so I like to basically give back in that way and give them some excitement and happiness."
5. He recently did some target shooting with fellow rookie Houston Bates: No, accuracy isn't necessarily a quality often associated with offensive lineman, at least when defining their game, but Kouandjio was on point while shooting targets with Bates, a college free agent out of Illinois.
6. It's taking a little bit of time to nail down everything Bill Callahan gives him:With a wealth of both experience and success, Callahan comes to Washington with quite the reputation for getting the best out of offensive linemen.
Kouandjio is hoping that he's the next player in a long line to succeed under Callahan.
But the Redskins rookie admitted that Callahan throws out a lot more than any other coach he's dealt with.
"This guy talks for two to three hours straight and doesn't take a break in between words so with that comes a lot of details, a lot of tips, a lot of things that can help us in the future," he said. "No wonder why he's had a lot of success with offensive linemen wherever he's been."
7. He's as tough as they come:Despite suffering a right knee injury that required surgery during his time at Alabama, Kouandjio believes he has what it takes to last in the NFL.
When he was under Alabama head coach Nick Saban, he was taught "Toughness, patience, discipline, commitment, effort, and pride."
He carries those qualities with him now.
"Mental toughness, physical toughness, making sure your body dies before your mind does, and just pushing through," Kouandjio said. "Your body is capable of doing way more than you allow it to. At Alabama you have to push through that."