placeholder image

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFL to expand practice squads to include international players in 2024

Sep 13, 2023 at 6:50 AM--

Videos are auto-populated by an affiliate. This site has no control over the videos that appear above.

League-wide initiative to help create more opportunities for talented athletes from around the world

The following is a press release from the NFL.

The National Football League has announced the expansion of the practice squad for all 32 clubs beginning in 2024 to include one international player, helping to create more opportunities for talented athletes from around the world to be identified and developed in the game of football.

Since 2017, select divisions have been allocated international players as part of the NFL's International Player Pathway (IPP) program. Between the program's launch in 2017 and 2022, one division participated each year. This year, two divisions – the AFC West and the NFC North – are participating in the initiative, with eight players from the program being allocated to NFL clubs.

​37 international players have signed with NFL teams (allocated, drafted or signed as a free agent) since the program's inception. There are currently 19 IPP athletes on NFL rosters, with five players having made teams active rosters - Jordan Mailata (Australia - Philadelphia Eagles), Efe Obada (UK - Washington Commanders), Jakob Johnson (Germany - Las Vegas Raiders), Sammis Reyes (Chile – Washington Commanders) and David Bada (Germany – Washington Commanders).

Those international players, scouted globally as part of the NFL's long-term football development efforts, were eligible for an international player practice squad exemption, granting the participating teams an extra practice squad member.​

Beginning in 2024, the practice squad will expand to 17 players for all 32 clubs, if one player is a qualifying international player. For the purpose of the initiative, a qualifying international player is a person whose citizenship and principal place of residence are outside the United States and Canada, and who have a maximum of two years of United States high school experience. In addition, an international player must (i) satisfy all NFL player eligibility rules and (ii) have been eligible for a prior NFL Draft.

Clubs may choose to sign players identified through the NFL's International Player Pathway program or can choose to independently scout for international talent.

"The practice squad roster expansion for international players will further contribute to our goal of building a sustainable pathway to the NFL for elite global athletes, while also creating local connections with fans around the world," said Peter O'Reilly, NFL Executive Vice President, Club Business, Major Events & International. "With the support of all 32 clubs, the NFL International Committee, the NFL Competition Committee and the NFL Players Association, we look forward to implementing this new model to benefit the game long-term and welcome more international talent into our League in the years to come."​

"As interest and participation in our game continues to grow and thrive globally, the talent pool of players who have the potential to impact our game on and off the field keeps expanding as well," said Joel Glazer, Owner/Co-Chairman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chair of the NFL International Committee. "The opportunity for all 32 clubs to utilize an additional practice squad roster spot for an international player is a significant step forward in helping to identify, develop and enable more exciting talent from around the world to play in the NFL. Our clubs will embrace this new opportunity to develop the pipeline of international players as we grow our game."

"The game grows and improves with global talent from around the world who inspire the next generation in their home nation," said Troy Vincent, NFL Executive Vice President, Football Operations. "This League-wide initiative paves the way for more international athletes to demonstrate that foo​​tball has a place for everyone."

Under the new rules, a participating club is permitted to elevate its international practice squad player to its active roster a maximum of three times throughout the season – increasing the flexibility for clubs to leverage the additional player, while creating more opportunity for international players to develop and play in the League. Each club will also receive one training camp roster exemption for a qualifying player.

"The International Player Pathway program changed my life and I'm very thankful for the opportunity it has provided me," said Jordan Mailata, Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle and IPP alumni from Australia. "The program shows so many young athletes around the world that playing in the NFL can be a reality. Expanding the program to see all 32 teams able to sign an international player to their practice squad will only continue to help make our sport better, more diverse and more competitive."​​​

The International Player Pathway program is part of a broader long-term commitment from the NFL and the 32 clubs to accelerate the development of football around the world. From the growth of NFL Flag football globally in partnership with the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), to the NFL Academy program and creating opportunities for talented student athletes to secure college football scholarships in the US to change lives, the NFL has a strategic focus on engaging and enabling young athletes to find, play and thrive in the sport.

Facebook Comments

More San Francisco 49ers News

placeholder image

Patrick Willis among 3 former 49ers named Hall of Fame Class of 2024 semifinalists

By David Bonilla
Nov 28

On Tuesday morning, it was announced that former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis has advanced to the semifinalist round for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024. From an original list of 173 nominees, 25 modern-era candidates have been selected. This marks the third consecutive year that Willis has advanced in the selection process. Two other former 49ers players, running back Ricky Watters and wide receiver Anquan Boldin, have also made it to the semifinals. The 49ers drafted Willis from Ole Miss with the No. 11 overall pick in 2007, and he spent eight seasons with the team before retiring after the 2014 season. During his career, Willis earned seven Pro Bowl

placeholder image

49ers vs. Eagles Injury Report: Arik Armstead among questionable players for Sunday

By David Bonilla
Dec 1

The San Francisco 49ers are preparing for their Week 13 contest against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Arik Armstead returned to practice after sitting out this week's earlier sessions with a foot injury. While he is listed as "questionable," the defensive tackle insists he will be suited up on Sunday in Philadelphia. "I'll be out there," Armstead responded this week when asked about his game status. Running back Jordan Mason and wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud also practiced for the first time this week. Mason has been dealing with a hamstring injury, while McCloud has been sidelined with a rib injury. Both are listed as "questionable" for this weekend. Below are the official

placeholder image

PFF's best and worst graded 49ers players vs. Seahawks, plus snap counts

By David Bonilla
Nov 24

The San Francisco 49ers improved their record to 8-3 after a 31-13 win against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 12. Today, Pro Football Focus released its grades from the game. Which Niners played well, and who has more work to do? Below are Pro Football Focus' five highest-graded 49ers players on offense against the Seahawks. Charlie Woerner, TE, 88.1, 18 snaps Christian McCaffrey, RB, 84.3, 51 snaps Trent Williams, LT, 79.0, 63 snaps Ray-Ray McCloud III, WR, 78.7, 8 snaps Deebo Samuel, WR, 78.3, 50 snaps Below are the five highest-graded 49ers players on defense. Ambry Thomas, CB, 90.2, 46 snaps Nick Bosa, DE, 89.7, 49 snaps Fred Warner, LB, 88.5, 56

placeholder image

Spencer Burford returns to 49ers practice ahead of Eagles game

By David Bonilla
Nov 27

Guard Spencer Burford participated in the San Francisco 49ers' bonus practice on Monday, marking his return after being among the team's seven inactive players on Thanksgiving night against the Seattle Seahawks. 49ers *bonus* practice. Trent Williams, Spencer Burford, Aaron Banks are all on hand …— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) November 27,


Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone