International Player Pathway

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The International Player Pathway (IPP) is a program run by the National Football League (NFL) to increase the number of non-American players in the NFL. According to Mark Waller (NFL Executive Vice President of International & Events 2014–18[1][2]), the program is an important part of the NFL’s overall strategy to grow internationally because it provides international athletes with the opportunity to play in the league which will increase the pool of talent, inspire others and ultimately drive fan growth.[3]

Two British-born former NFL players Aden Durde (NFLUK head of football development) and two-time Super Bowl champion Osi Umenyiora were concerned that there were no clear pathways into the NFL for players who had not gone to high-school and/or college in the United States, and, as a result, the NFL was potentially missing out on some exceptional players. Wanting to remedy this, in early 2016, they utilized their personal and professional contracts from their football days to create a training program and to set-up meetings and try-outs with NFL teams for a small number of specially selected football players. These players' potentials had been scouted primarily by watching YouTube videos.[4] The initial group of players all lived, worked and played amateur football in Europe. At the time, the program was not yet officially named the International Player Pathway, but it was fully sanctioned and supported by the NFL. Additionally, the League had commissioned a mini-series documentary to be made, called NFL Undiscovered, that followed the participants of the program.

The following year, the IPP was enacted with systems for choosing which division sponsors the program annually, as well as special regulations applying to the teams being assigned the players. The program has grown every year since its launch and, as of 2019, nearly half (15 of 32) of all NFL teams have already signed international players as a direct result of the program.

Athlete eligibility and application[edit]

In 2017, potential applicants to NFL Undiscovered were asked to meet specific requirements and advised to follow a particular application process. These conditions were published widely through the media[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12] when they were released and are reproduced below, though these have either changed over time or there is some discretion applied during the selection process as not all the athletes that have come through the program in the intervening years meet all these criteria.

Applicants were asked to submit (by midnight UK time on the first Sunday in March) the following material via email to nfl.undiscovered at the NFL:

Roster regulations[edit]

The NFL has specific regulations for players that sign through the IPP. The teams to which each IPP player is assigned are allowed 91 players [13] on their off-season rosters, one more than those teams that are not participating in the IPP that year. At the point when these rosters need to be cut to 53 (at the end of pre-season), the participating teams have several options open to them;[14][15][16]

  1. assign their IPP player to their 53-man roster
    • the team can only have the usual 10-man practice squad
  2. assign their IPP player to their practice squad utilising the IPP exemption
    • like all players, the IPP player must first clear waivers (where he could be claimed by another team) before being assigned to the practice squad
    • the team can have an 11-man practice squad
    • the player cannot be called-up to the 53-man roster that season but also cannot be claimed by another club
  3. assign their IPP player to their practice squad without utilising the IPP exemption
    • like all players, the IPP player must first clear waivers
    • the team can only have a regular 10-man practice squad
    • the player is a regular member of the practice squad so can be called-up to the 53-man roster and can also be claimed by another club
  4. cut their IPP player after clearing waivers
    • the IPP player could be signed to another team's practice squad but they won't get the 11th man exemption for him

History[edit]

The IPP began in 2017, when four players (Alex Gray, Alex Jenkins, Efe Obada, and Eric Nzeocha) signed for NFL teams.[17][18][19] The program was extended in 2018,[20] and continued in 2019.[21][22][23][24]

Summary of program and participants' achievements[edit]

Players who have participated in NFL Undiscovered and the NFL International Player Pathway program
# Player Nationality Age
entering
program
Previous
sport(s)
NFL
season
Sponsoring
NFL division
NFL team
signed to
Football
position
Resulting contract(s)
1 Anthony Dablé [25]  France 27 Football 2016 New York Giants Wide Receiver 2016 - signed as a free agent then released during final roster cuts[26] first player signed in the NFL from NFL Undiscovered/IPP
2017 - signed with Atlanta Falcons and again released at the end of pre-season[27]
2 Harry Innis  UK 20 Football Tight End [28]
3 * Moritz Böhringer [29]  Germany 22 Football Minnesota Vikings Wide Receiver 2016 - drafted (R6#180) spent season on 10-man practice squad, first player drafted in the NFL from NFL Undiscovered/IPP[30]
2017 - waived by Vikings in September[31]
4 Alex Gray[32]  UK 25 Rugby Union 2017 NFC South Atlanta Falcons Tight End 2017 - 11th member of practice squad
2018 - signed to practice squad
2019 - on 2-year futures contract to 2020[33]
5 Alex Jenkins[34]  UK 23 Football New Orleans Saints Defensive End 2017 - 11th member of practice squad
2018 - reserve/futures contract in January and to practice squad[35]
6 Eric Nzeocha[36]  Germany 23 Football Tampa Bay Buccaneers Linebacker 2017 - 11th member of practice squad
2018 - reserve/futures contract in January and to practice squad[37]
7 Efe Obada[38]  UK 24 Football Carolina Panthers Defensive End 2017 - 11th member of practice squad
2018 - reserve/futures contract in January and to practice squad, first player to make an NFL 53-man active roster via IPP in August[39]
2019 - signed 1 year contract[40]
3 * Moritz Böhringer [41]  Germany 24 Football 2018 AFC North Cincinnati Bengals Tight End 2018 - 11th member of practice squad and reserve/futures contract
2019 - again assigned by NFL to roster as IPP (roster exempt)[42][43]
8 Christopher Ezeala [44]  Germany 22 Football Baltimore Ravens Running Back 2018 - 11th member of practice squad
2019 - re-signed[45]
9 Jordan Mailata [46]  Australia 20 Rugby League Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Tackle 2018 - drafted 2018 (R7#233) signed 4-year contract, spent season on 53-man roster, injured reserve in December[47]
2019 -
10 Tigie Sankoh [48]  UK 20 Football Cleveland Browns Defensive Back 2018 - 11th member of practice squad
2019 - signed to reserve/futures list in January[49][50]
11 Christian Scotland-Williamson[51]  UK 24 Rugby Union Pittsburgh Steelers Tight End 2018 - 11th member of practice squad, terminated in September[52]
2019 - re-signed[53]
12 David Bada  Germany 23 Football 2019 AFC East Defensive End
13 Moubarak Djeri [54]  Germany 23 Football Defensive End
14 Valentine Holmes [55]  Australia 23 Rugby League New York Jets Running Back 2019 - assigned by NFL to roster as IPP (roster exempt)[56]
15 Jakob Johnson [57]  Germany 24 Football New England Patriots Fullback 2019 - signed to 10-man practice squad then promoted to 53-man roster,[58] first international pathway program player to be activated[59] and play in an NFL game[60]
16 Durval Queiroz Neto [61]  Brazil 26 Football Miami Dolphins Defensive Tackle 2019 - assigned by NFL to roster as IPP (roster exempt)[62]
17 Maximo Sanchez  Mexico 23 Football Linebacker
18 Christian Wade [63]  UK 27 Rugby Union Buffalo Bills Running Back 2019 - assigned by NFL to roster as IPP (roster exempt)[64]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.espn.co.uk/nfl/story/_/id/16077241/how-african-born-brit-mark-waller-became-one-nfl-most-influential-figures
  2. ^ http://www.sloansportsconference.com/people/mark-waller/
  3. ^ https://operations.nfl.com/updates/the-players/four-international-players-added-to-practice-squads-for-2017-season/
  4. ^ NFL Undiscovered (video). NFL. 2016.
  5. ^ http://dblcoverage.com/are-you-the-next-nfl-undiscovered-star/
  6. ^ https://www.americanfootballinternational.com/want-chance-play-nfl-nfl-undiscovered-2017-training-programme-launches/
  7. ^ https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/us-sport/nfl-draft-2017-undrafted-european-athletes-a7596096.html
  8. ^ https://www.skysports.com/nfl/news/12040/10778480/nfl-undiscovered-programme-returns
  9. ^ http://ballcharts.com/team/?team=texasindoorfootball&pg=new&id=67820&archived=0
  10. ^ https://www.givemesport.com/992499-nfl-undiscovered-2017-training-programme-launches
  11. ^ https://uk.news.yahoo.com/nfl-want-talented-young-european-165552092.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAKpcsdIvarfnYaFDeC9Gmf6u5YxDoOM3WAP0sQDMXeq7zOy9EE4746dyaxpAkrlVnSEBMO_Sy-RRcuzoQURrr03zwdm3VCXpJG-XM6TZapHpOaCkDUAU_JXcf1yiG53kRNsiEgXuvwDdfDOJIJl6MvtvkkIlftIz1_Az7DdE8wFy
  12. ^ http://instantscouting.com/the-nfl-want-talented-young-european-athletes-to-enter-the-draft-heres-how-to-be-in-with-the-chance-of-a-lifetime/
  13. ^ https://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2019/8/29/20837438/updated-look-at-the-steelers-91-man-roster-with-jersey-numbers-before-preseason-week-4-jhavonte-dean
  14. ^ https://www.newyorkupstate.com/buffalo-bills/2019/08/buffalo-bills-christian-wade-and-the-international-pathway-program-what-fans-needs-to-know.html
  15. ^ https://www.buffalorumblings.com/2019/8/18/20810950/clarifying-the-buffalo-bills-roster-status-with-running-back-christian-wade
  16. ^ https://billswire.usatoday.com/2019/08/19/what-the-buffalo-bills-can-do-christian-wade/
  17. ^ "New program opens doors for four NFL hopefuls". ESPN.com. 2 November 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  18. ^ "The International Player Pathway Program: What it is, and why it will change the NFL". 26 June 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  19. ^ "International players added to four practice squads". NFL.com. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  20. ^ "NFL expands program for overseas practice squad players". AP NEWS. 1 May 2018. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  21. ^ "Meet the NFL International Player Pathway Players of 2019". 22 March 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  22. ^ "Christian Wade joined by six others in NFL International Player Pathway". NFL.com. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  23. ^ "Alex Jenkins: New York Giants sign English defensive end as free agent". 6 May 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2019 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  24. ^ "4 international players added to NFL rosters for 2019 season". USA TODAY. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  25. ^ http://www.nfl.com/player/anthonydable/2555573/profile
  26. ^ https://www.giants.com/team/transactions/
  27. ^ https://www.atlantafalcons.com/team/transactions/
  28. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxj_s7DrU8Q
  29. ^ http://www.nfl.com/player/moritzboehringer/2556261/profile
  30. ^ https://www.americanfootballinternational.com/minnesota-vikings-cut-ties-german-receiver-moritz-bohringer/
  31. ^ https://www.vikings.com/team/transactions/
  32. ^ http://www.nfl.com/player/alexgray/2559379/profile
  33. ^ https://www.atlantafalcons.com/team/transactions/
  34. ^ http://www.nfl.com/player/alexjenkins/2559380/profile
  35. ^ https://www.neworleanssaints.com/team/transactions/
  36. ^ http://www.nfl.com/player/ericnzeocha/2559381/profile
  37. ^ https://www.buccaneers.com/team/transactions/
  38. ^ http://www.nfl.com/player/efeobada/2553310/profile
  39. ^ http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001012850/article/international-star-efe-obada-resigns-with-panthers
  40. ^ https://www.panthers.com/team/transactions/
  41. ^ http://www.nfl.com/player/moritzboehringer/2556261/profile
  42. ^ https://www.bengals.com/team/transactions/
  43. ^ https://nflcommunications.com/Documents/06%2028%2019%20-%20NFL%20International%20Combine%20in%20Germany.pdf
  44. ^ http://www.nfl.com/player/christopherezeala/2561571/profile
  45. ^ https://nflcommunications.com/Documents/06%2028%2019%20-%20NFL%20International%20Combine%20in%20Germany.pdf
  46. ^ http://www.nfl.com/player/jordanmailata/2561122/profile
  47. ^ https://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/team/transactions/
  48. ^ http://www.nfl.com/player/tigiesankoh/2561594/profile
  49. ^ https://www.clevelandbrowns.com/team/transactions/
  50. ^ https://nflcommunications.com/Documents/06%2028%2019%20-%20NFL%20International%20Combine%20in%20Germany.pdf
  51. ^ http://www.nfl.com/player/christianscotland-williamson/2561517/profile
  52. ^ https://www.steelers.com/team/transactions/
  53. ^ https://nflcommunications.com/Documents/06%2028%2019%20-%20NFL%20International%20Combine%20in%20Germany.pdf
  54. ^ http://www.nfl.com/player/moubarakdjeri/2561082/profile
  55. ^ http://www.nfl.com/player/valentineholmes/2562889/profile
  56. ^ https://www.newyorkjets.com/team/transactions/
  57. ^ http://www.nfl.com/player/jakobjohnson/2562890/profile
  58. ^ https://www.patriots.com/team/transactions/
  59. ^ Wells, Adam (September 21, 2019). "Patriots' Jakob Johnson 1st International Pathway Program Player to Be Activated". BleacherReport.com. Bleacher Report. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  60. ^ Wells, Adam. "Jakob Johnson makes NFL debut with Patriots". USAToday.com. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  61. ^ http://www.nfl.com/player/durvalqueiroz/2562867/profile
  62. ^ https://www.miamidolphins.com/team/transactions/
  63. ^ http://www.nfl.com/player/christianwade/2562896/profile
  64. ^ https://www.buffalobills.com/team/transactions/