- Associated Press - Thursday, November 17, 2016

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio moved to the United States with his family when he was 4 years old.

On Thursday, he became a U.S. citizen.

Kouandjio was one of 34 individuals to receive U.S. citizenship at the U.S. District Courthouse in Buffalo Thursday morning.

“I finally made it,” Kouandjio said. “It’s been a long time coming. It’s been 19 years. It’s a good day.”

Kouandjio and his family came to the United States from Cameroon in 1997. Kouandjio was given permanent residency status for political asylum.

He became a standout offensive lineman in college at Alabama and was chosen 44th overall by the Bills in 2014. Kouandjio has served as a backup offensive tackle for most of his time with the Bills.

“I’m just glad I’m now a part of the American process,” Kouandjio said. “I’m American. I can vote, I can do things. I can be a part of the democracy and be a part of this great nation. I feel really blessed.”

He became the final member of his family to earn U.S. citizenship. His brother, Arie Kouandjio, became a U.S. citizen in September. Arie Kouandjio plays for the Washington Redskins.

“I was the last piece of the puzzle in my family,” Kouandjio said. “Everybody’s glad that it’s finally over with.”

“I see the value of being a part of a country where they value the pursuit of happiness and liberty and freedom. I always want to put an emphasis on the fact that I love this country because they respect every individual as a human being and this is the land where you make your dreams reality. I’m just glad to be here. You have a future when you’re here … I’m just glad there’s a country that represents these principles that I grew up in.”

Making matters even better for the 23-year-old, Kouandjio has a chance to see extended playing time in Buffalo’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said that the Bills may utilize a three-man rotation at right tackle, which would include Kouandjio, Seantrel Henderson and Jordan Mills.

“Winning this game would be a perfect ending to the week,” Kouandjio said.

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For more NFL coverage: https://www.pro32.ap.org and https://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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