The NFL has chosen the AFC North for the International Player Pathway program in 2018. Each team will be given an additional practice squad position.
The Cincinnati Bengals have signed free agent wide receiver Moritz Boehringer as a part of the International Player Pathway program that was given to each AFC North team this season. The former German football player was the first selected European football player in the NFL draft without playing in college. He was selected in the 2016 NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings and spent the season on the practice squad.
During his time in the German Football League with the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, Boehringer hauled in 59 receptions for 1,232 yards and 13 touchdowns in 16 games. He also returned 14 kickoffs for 415 yards and 2 touchdowns. Failing to make the 53 man roster in 2016, he spent his time on the practice squad and was a part of the 2017 offseason roster.
Last year the NFC South was selected as part of the program to hold an additional spot on the practice squad for an overseas player and will again in 2018. This year the AFC North teams were selected to begin their part in the program by random draw. Each team will be given the eleventh spot on the practice squad, and the players are ineligible to be activated during the season.
Two of the players were selected from the UK and the other two from Germany. The international players have been training with NFL players and young hopeful college prospects this offseason in Florida under the former NFLUK head of football Aden Durde. The Atlanta Falcons hired Durde as a defensive quality control coach after this season’s program.
It will be fun to see how Boehringer does in the Bengals practice squad this year. Could he be the first international player of this program to make a 53 man roster in the future? Only time will tell, but it should be an exciting program to keep an eye on as the NFL tries to expand to Europe.