Established in 2017, the NFL International Player Pathway program aims to provide elite athletes from around the world with the opportunity to earn a spot on an NFL roster and increase the number of international players in the League.
“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 & 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.”
This year 13 talented young athletes were invited to join the 2023 IPP program following an NFL International Combine in London, England, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last season, with 38 players from 13 countries participating.
The 2023 IPP cohort spent 10 weeks at an intensive training camp at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida earlier this year, with opportunities to showcase their talents in front of NFL club scouts at a Pro Day at the University of South Florida ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft.
From the NFL’s eight divisions the NFC North and the AFC West divisions were chosen to receive IPP players in a random draw and become the 7th and 8th division to participate respectively.
Both divisions have been selected to receive four players from the IPP, bringing the total number of IPP athletes placed on rosters through the program this year to eight – the most in a single year of the program’s history, with all 32 teams now having received an IPP player since the program’s inception in 2017.
The six Nigerian players were discovered via Osi Umenyiora’s The Uprise initiative and attended the inaugural NFL Africa talent camp in Ghana last year. They were then invited to the International Combine in London and secured their place on the IPP program.
“To see these fantastic young Nigerian men achieve their dream to be on an NFL roster is incredibly exciting, and I am proud of how each one of them have worked incredibly hard to earn this moment,” said Osi Umenyiora, a two-time Super Bowl champion who was born in the UK to Nigerian parents and who is spearheading football development efforts in Africa. “I cannot wait to see how they develop next season and in the years to come, and know that everyone in Nigeria will be following their progress with pride.”
Jordan Mailata, Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle from Australia, and an alumni of the IPP program, shared his words of advice for the eight athletes, adding: “My advice to the players coming into the program would be to enjoy and respect the process. Give it everything you’ve got. Embrace the opportunity and don’t let it go to waste. Hard work will always outlast talent.”
The four NFC North clubs and four AFC West clubs will carry these eight 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. Clubs also have the opportunity to elevate the player to the active roster during the season.
|Roy Mbaeteka||23||Nigeria||OL||Chicago Bears|
|Patrick Murtagh||23||Australia||TE||Detroit Lions|
|Kenneth Odumegwu||22||Nigeria||DL||Green Bay Packers|
|Junior Aho||24||France||DL||Minnesota Vikings|
|Haggai Chisom Ndubuisi||22||Nigeria||DL||Denver Broncos|
|Chukwuebuka Godrick||22||Nigeria||OL||Las Vegas Raiders|
|David Ebuka Agoha||21||Nigeria||DL||Los Angeles Chargers|
|Basil Chijioke Okoye||21||Nigeria||DL||Kansas City Chiefs|
37 international players have signed with NFL teams since the start of the program (allocated, drafted or signed as a free agent). There are currently 13 IPP athletes on NFL rosters, with four of these on their team’s active roster – Jordan Mailata (Australia – Philadelphia Eagles), Efe Obada (UK – Washington Commanders), Jakob Johnson (Germany – Las Vegas Raiders) and David Bada (Germany – Washington Commanders).