Rome Odunze Grandfather Wayne Bunnell Is His Inspiration

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Rome Odunze grandfather, Wayne Bunnell, has lived a simple farm life for the entirety of his existence. The Washington Huskies wide receiver, Rome, says he has always tried to emulate his grandfather’s mentality. 

A hard worker and a man who wanted to do his utmost best for his family. That is how Rome describes his grandfather, Wayne Bunnell. 

Rome Motivates His Teammate During The Sugar Bowl Game Against The Texas
Rome Motivates His Teammates During The Sugar Bowl Game Against The Texas (Source: Instagram)

Wayne loved working on the farms, and Rome enjoyed accompanying his grandfather everywhere around the farm. But an accident made Wayne give up on his farming life.

A recently published video by ESPN has Rome talking about his maternal grandfather and the impact he had on his life.

The Bunnell family couldn’t be more proud of Rome’s achievements, and though Wayne cannot see his grandson play on the field, the loud cheers that follow after Rome’s name make him swell with pride. 

Rome Odunze Grandfather, Wayne Bunnell

Rome Odunze maternal grandfather, Wayne Bunnell, is a huge inspiration for the Huskies player. Recently, ESPN dived into Rome and his relationship with his grandfather. 

Previously, in an interview with 247Sports, Rome said he knew how to milk cows because his grandfather, Wayne, taught him. He spent a large chunk of his childhood with his grandparents on the farms. 

The video published by ESPN was taken on the day of the Sugar Bowl, and the entire Bunnell was rooting for Rome and his team. The football player is closer to his mom’s family, and it is reflected in his mom, Necia Bunnell’s social media handle

A Young Rome Pictured At His Grandfather, Wayne Bunnell's Farm
A Young Rome Pictured At His Grandfather, Wayne Bunnell’s Farm (Source: YouTube)

The video shows a young Rome on his grandfather’s tractor. He would spend his summers at his grandfather’s dairy farm and work alongside his grandfather. 

In the video, Necia says that her father wanted to instill hard work in Rome from a young age. The footballer agrees with the statement and says he has modeled his work ethic after his grandfather. 

Rome says his grandfather worked for a long time on the farm to make ends meet. While working on the farms, Wayne also focused on his fitness, and after waking up at 4 AM and milking 80 cows, he would go on a 30-mile bicycle ride. 

Wayne Bunnell Accident

But one incident changed Wayne’s life. On August 4, 2016, he got into an accident and went over the handlebars. Wayne landed on his head and suffered a traumatic brain injury. At the time, Wayne was wearing a helmet, but it couldn’t mitigate the impact due to the speed. 

In his interview, Wayne says he doesn’t remember the accident. After the accident, Wayne lost his vision, and Necia says that he had to give up on farming and that it was a total change of life. 

Wayne Bunnell Cheers For His Grandson During The Sugar Bowl Game
Wayne Bunnell Cheers For His Grandson During The Sugar Bowl Game (Source: YouTube)

He never saw Rome suit up for the Huskies, but whenever the Huskies play, Wayne sits on his chair and listens to Rome’s games.

In the video, Wayne says, “It’s neat to see him do well and accomplish a lot. I love him, and I’m proud of him.”

Rome Odunze Paternal Grandfather, James Odindu Odunze 

The Huskies player doesn’t seem too close to his father’s family. He has never talked about his dad in any of his previous interviews. 

But a Facebook post shared by his uncle, Ikenna Odunze, sheds light on his other family. Ikenna shared the Facebook post to boast about Rome’s athletic achievements.

The post was shared in 2018 when Rome played for Bishop Gorman Gaels, his high school team. He had broken the Nevada state record for receiving yards in a single game.  

Ikenna wrote Rome was following in his grandfather, Odindu Odunze’s footsteps by setting a record of athletic accomplishment. Not much is known about his grandfather’s athletic achievements, but he is a Ph.D. holder. 

Odindu Odunze also goes by James Odunze, and he might have received his doctorate from the University of Missouri. He has a Facebook page but doesn’t seem to be an active social media user. 

Sriyukta Pradhananga
Sriyukta Pradhananga

Sriyukta Pradhananga

Sriyukta Pradhananga is a versatile writer with a keen interest in exploring the multifaceted dimensions of sports. Her articles offer readers a dynamic blend of insightful analysis, engaging storytelling, and thought-provoking commentary that sheds light on the diverse experiences within the athletic realm.


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  • Sriyukta keeps abreast of the latest advancements in sports technology.
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With a background in journalism and a passion for sports, Sriyukta approaches each article with a blend of curiosity, rigor, and creativity. She strives to illuminate the complexities and nuances of the sports world, sparking meaningful conversations and inspiring readers to engage more deeply with the athletic endeavors that unite us all.

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