Four Austrian players will chase their NFL dreams this Saturday and Sunday, October 19 and 20, when they take part in the NFL International Combine, being held in Germany for the first time.
The invitational scouting showcase, mirrored after the annual NFL Combine staged in the United States, is designed to discover and evaluate potential NFL talent from around the globe. Athletes from more than 15 countries have been selected to go through a series of tests in front of NFL evaluators at Sportschule Hennef, a sports training facility outside Cologne.
Athletes will participate in a range of speed, agility, strength and skill-based tests, each designed to assess the athlete’s suitability to play in the NFL. Participants will be evaluated for a possible spot on the NFL’s International Player Pathway program.
Following the Combine, a select number of athletes who meet specific performance standards and display the potential to play in the NFL, will be invited to train in the US for three months.
“Following last year’s inaugural International Combine in Australia, we are excited to explore the talent pool internationally,” said Damani Leech, NFL Chief Operating Officer of International. “Since 2017, the NFL’s International Player Pathway program has provided international athletes the opportunity to compete at the NFL level and develop their skills, and we hope to discover new talent through this event in Germany.”
The Austrian players selected to participate are:
BERNHARD SEIKOVITS, Wide Receiver. Age: 22.
LEON BALOGH, Linebacker. Age: 23.
SANDRO PLATZGUMMER, Running Back. Age: 22.
YANNICK MAYR, Wide Receiver. Age: 23.
NFL International Player Pathway background:
Instituted in 2017, the program aims to provide international athletes the opportunity to compete at the NFL level, improve their skills, and ultimately earn a spot on an NFL roster. During the 2019 NFL season, eight teams were able to carry an additional overseas player on their practice squads as part of the International Player Pathway Program, although the New England Patriots chose to include fullback Jakob Johnson on their 10-man practice squad in order to be able activate him once the season began.
Also with AFC East clubs for the 2019 season are: Valentine Holmes (New York Jets), a former professional rugby league player in Australia; Durval Queiroz Neto (Miami Dolphins), who played football in Brazil; and Christian Wade (Buffalo Bills), a former England rugby player.
The four players who participated in the program in 2018 have returned to their AFC North teams: Moritz Böhringer (Cincinnati Bengals), who was originally drafted in the sixth round by the Minnesota Vikings in 2016; German Football League player Christopher Ezeala (Baltimore Ravens); former British American Football League player Tigie Sankoh (Cleveland Browns); and former Worcester Warriors rugby player Christian Scotland-Williamson (Pittsburgh Steelers).