NFL to Expand Practice Squads to Include 1 International Player Starting in 2024

FOXBOROUGH, MA - SEPTEMBER 1src: An NFL shield logo is painted on the field prior to an NFL football game between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles at Gillette Stadium on September 1src, 2src23 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

The NFL is reportedly increasing its effort to add more international players to the league.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL is expanding practice squads for all 32 teams to include one international player in order to “create more football opportunities for athletes from around the world to be identified and developed.”

The move continues the NFL’s initiative to extend its reach beyond the United States. In 2017, the league established the International Player Pathway (IPP) program to increase its number of international players and provide more opportunities to athletes from around the world to earn a roster spot.

In May, the league announced that eight players have been allocated to NFL teams, the highest number in a single year since the inception of the IPP. Those players were received by teams in the NFC North and AFC West divisions, giving all 32 teams at least one IPP player since the program began. This year’s group included one Australian, one French and six Nigerian players.

“To see this hugely talented group of players be allocated to NFL rosters is very exciting, and a testament to the success of the NFL’s global football development programs for international athletes,” said Peter O’Reilly, NFL executive vice president, club business, major events and international. “The International Player Pathway is a critical program in identifying, supporting and enabling athletes from around the world and we look forward to seeing each players’ NFL journey unfold as they become global ambassadors for the sport.”

Since the IPP began, 37 international players have signed with an NFL team. Entering Week 2 of the 2023 season, there are 19 IPP athletes signed with five on their team’s active roster. Those five are Jordan Mailata (Australia, Philadelphia Eagles), Efe Obada (UK, Washington Commanders), Sammis Reyes (Chile, Commanders), David Bada (Germany, Commanders) and Jakob Johnson (Germany, Las Vegas Raiders).


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