Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

49ers, other NFC West teams add players through International Player Pathway program

May 4, 2021 at 8:34 AM--

The following is a press release from the NFL.

Four teams will carry an additional international player on their practice squads in 2021 as part of the International Player Pathway program, the NFL announced today. Instituted in 2017, the program aims to provide elite international athletes the opportunity to compete at the NFL level, improve their skills, and ultimately earn a spot on an NFL roster.

Player Position Country NFL CLUB
Aaron Donkor LB Germany Seattle Seahawks
Alfredo Gutierrez OL Mexico San Francisco 49ers
Max Pircher OL Italy Los Angeles Rams
Bernhard Seikovits TE Austria Arizona Cardinals

The four NFC West clubs will carry these players on their roster until the end of training camp. At that time, the players are eligible for an international player practice squad exemption, granting the team an extra practice squad member that is ineligible to be activated during the 2021 season.

"The International Player Pathway Program provides athletes with a viable route to the NFL and an opportunity to further develop their skills," said Damani Leech, NFL Chief Operating Officer of International. "We are excited to welcome the 2021 class to the NFL and continue growing the game globally."

The NFC West was chosen to receive these players in a random draw. This becomes the fifth division to participate in the program.

Donkor, Gutierrez, Pircher and Seikovits received additional training alongside NFL players and draft hopefuls in Florida at IMG Academy this winter.

Additionally, four players that participated in the program in 2020 will rejoin their NFC East teams – Isaac Alarcon (Dallas Cowboys), David Bada (Washington Football Team), Matt Leo (Philadelphia Eagles) and Sandro Platzgummer (New York Giants). This is in addition to Christian Wade (Buffalo Bill) and Durval Nieto Queiroz (Miami Dolphins), who are set to enter their third year of the program with their AFC East teams.

The new players taking part in the 2021 International Player Pathway Program:

AARON DONKOR, LB (Germany) – Seattle Seahawks
A native of Germany, played with the German Football League's Dusseldorf Panthers in 2016. In 2017, joined the New Mexico Military Institute. Saw action in 12 games over two seasons and accumulated 32 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumbles. Transferred to Arkansas State for his remaining eligibility and posted 25 tackles during the 2019 season.

ALFREDO GUTIERREZ, OL (Mexico) – San Francisco 49ers
Grew up playing youth football in Mexico before moving to the U.S. Upon graduating high school, Gutierrez enrolled in junior college before returning home to Mexico and joining Tec de Monterrey on a full athletic scholarship. Graduated from Tec de Monterrey, where he won a National Championship in 2019.

MAX PIRCHER, OL (Italy) – Los Angeles Rams
After attending a Swarco Raiders football game in Austria, Pircher tried out for the very same team that introduced him to the game. He tested out positions such as tight end and defensive end before settling on offensive line. During the 2019 season, Pircher was named the starting right tackle for the Swarco Raiders and also played on the Italian National Team (Blue Team). Pircher has since moved on to play for the Hildesheim Invaders in Germany, where he balances playing football and attending school.

BERNHARD SEIKOVITS, TE (Austria) – Arizona Cardinals
Seikovits was first introduced to football when he started playing flag football at age 10. After his two-year introduction to the sport and its style of play, he transitioned to tackle football with the Vienna Vikings youth team at the age of 12. Seikovits was selected as a quarterback for the Austrian U19 national team when he was 16-years old. During his time in the program, he competed in two world championships and won a European championship. Following discussions with his coaches, Seikovits began transitioning to the wide receiver position. The position change did not slow him down, as he was selected to the men's national team at the age of 21, which he is now a captain of.

Sammis Reyes, who was also competing for a position in this year's International Player Pathway Program, was signed by the Washington Football Team in April.

SAMMIS REYES, TE (Chile) – Washington Football Team
Played basketball while growing up in Chile. Reyes moved to the United States at age 13 to attend high school. Practiced as a tight end with his high school football team while also playing basketball. Went on to play collegiate basketball for the Tulane Green Wave.

Related News

More San Francisco 49ers News

49ers climb power rankings following draft, still sit behind two NFC West teams

By David Bonilla
May 4, 2021

Power rankings in May don't mean a lot, especially when you throw in figuring out how an unproven crop of rookies will impact a team's future success. "The NFL draft and the Power Rankings don't mix," wrote contributor Dan Hanzus. That didn't stop him from trying. Hanzus released his latest power rankings, his first since a post-free-agency version in March, and has the San Francisco 49ers jumping up three spots to No. 9. The Niners' draft features the No. 3 overall pick, Trey Lance of North Dakota State. The team also added two offensive linemen in Aaron Banks and Jaylon Moore, two running backs in Trey Sermon and Elijah

Jimmy Garoppolo appreciated John Lynch's honesty through 49ers' draft process

By David Bonilla
May 4, 2021

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo doesn't see his current situation as awkward. Yes, the San Francisco 49ers drafted his successor, Trey Lance, with the No. 3 overall pick. Yes, Garoppolo will be expected to mentor the young quarterback. Yes, Garoppolo very much wants to hold onto the starting job as long as possible. The veteran quarterback understands that's life in the NFL, though. You are always being challenged by others looking to take your job and make a name for themselves. Garoppolo sees the situation as an opportunity rather than a source of frustration. "It's just one of those things," Garoppolo said this morning on The DA Show with Damon Amendolara. "You've got to roll with the punches. And whenever an opportunity presents itself, you've got to be

'I know we're going to push each other': 49ers rookie Trey Lance excited to learn from Jimmy Garoppolo

By David Bonilla
Apr 30, 2021

Awkward. That's a word that can be used to describe the quarterback situation in San Francisco. The 49ers plan to enter the 2021 season with Jimmy Garoppolo as their starter. However, they surrendered a haul of future draft picks to move up to the No. 3 spot this year. The team selected quarterback Trey Lance of North Dakota State on Thursday night. He will eventually replace Garoppolo. Yes, that could be an awkward situation in the quarterback room. Lance doesn't see it as awkward, though. He sees it as an opportunity. Sitting behind Garoppolo for a season is an opportunity for the young quarterback to learn from a veteran who is very comfortable with the offense. It's an opportunity to study behind a quarterback who is 26-9 as a starter in the

2021 NFL Draft: Mel Kiper, other experts hand out 49ers draft grades

By David Bonilla
May 2, 2021

The 2021 NFL Draft is in the books, which means it's time for the "experts" to hand out their annual grades of each team's new rookie class. Below are the grades issued by some of the more well-known analysts and writers within the media and what they had to say about the San Francisco 49ers' newest crop of rookies. Included are quotes from each analyst's explanation for the awarded grade. 49ers Draft Picks Round 1: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State Round 2: Aaron Banks, G, Notre Dame Round 3: Trey Sermon, RB, Ohio State Round 3: Ambry Thomas, CB, Michigan Round 5: Jaylon Moore, OT, Western Michigan Round 5: Deommodore Lenoir, CB, Oregon Round 5: Talanoa Hufanga, S, USC Round 6: Elijah Mitchell, RB,


Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone