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NFL Chooses 11 Players For International Pathway Program

NFL Chooses 11 Players For International Pathway Program

The NFL has chosen 11 athletes from nine countries to compete for a spot in the 2021 International Player Pathway Program.

The NFL has chosen 11 athletes from nine countries to compete for a spot in the 2021 International Player Pathway Program.

Instituted in 2017, the program aims to provide elite international athletes an opportunity to compete at the NFL level, improve their skills, and possibly earn a spot on an a team roster.

Since its creation in 2017, this program has been a part of the leagues continuous efforts to strengthen the pipeline of international players in the NFL, said Damani Leech, the NFL’s international chief operating officer.

Chosen for the program are LB Aaron Donkor (Germany), RB Taku Lee (Japan), DL Yoann Miangue (France), DE Leonel Misangumukini (Austria), DE Adedayo Odeleye (United Kingdom), LB Ayo Oyelola (United Kingdom), OL Max Pircher (Italy), TE Sammis Reyes (Chile), TE Bernhard Seikovits (Austria), DL Lone Toailoa (New Zealand) and OL Alfredo Gutierrez (Mexico). Soon they will begin training in the United States, seeking a practice squad position for next season.

One NFL division to be chosen at random will receive the international players. At the conclusion of training camp, each player will be eligible for an international player practice squad exemption with his assigned team.

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MOTOR CITY SOCIAL JUSTICE INITIATIVES

The Detroit Lions are investing $490,000 through grants to organizations as part of the teams social justice initiative.

Lions players and ownership launched Detroit Lions Inspire Change after the 2018 season. This week, the team announced a list of grantees for 2021 who will receive funding.

Recipients include the Henry Ford Health System COVID-19 Emergency Needs Fund, as well as the Motor City Mitten Mission, which is dedicated to helping the homeless, the needy and the sick.

The Detroit Lions Academy, the Detroit Public Safety Foundation, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, the Detroit Justice Center, the Detroit Public Schools Foundation and the Downtown Boxing Gym were listed as well.

The Lions also said they would support The Empowerment Plan, which aims to elevate families from the cycle of homelessness by hiring single parents from local homeless shelters, as well as HAVENs Redefine program, a development course for high school and college-age men to help end gender-based violence. The team also listed the Pure Heart Foundation, which was designed to provide services to benefit the children of incarcerated parents.

Through Inspire Change, we have been able to impact the local community in a personal way, defensive end Trey Flowers said. We understand that as an organization and as human beings, we must do our due diligence to inspire and uplift each other while we can. Our initiative helps those in need and provides a reminder of what society needs us all to do and that is to give back.

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GOOD HEALTH

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins will make it through a sixth straight season he first became a full-time starter for Washington in 2015 and signed with Minnesota in 2018 without missing a game to injury. The only other NFL quarterbacks to do so during that span are Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson and Tom Brady.

Rivers and Wilson have started all 95 games since the beginning of 2015, one more than Cousins and Matt Ryan.

Cousins was held out of the final game in 2019 with Minnesotas spot in the playoffs clinched. Ryans absence was in 2019, due to an ankle injury. Brady missed four games in 2016, but that was for a suspension from the league.

There have been a lot of answered prayers, Cousins said, adding: Yes, I have taken a few hits. Thats part of the game. I think the key is my teammates and coaches have done a good job of preventing those hits that would actually keep you out.

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DAK HAS RYAN’S SUPPORT IN REHAB

Sunday’s matchup will be the first time the Cowboys and Giants have played since Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott sustained a season-ending ankle injury on a freakish play on Oct. 11 when he was tackled by New York defensive back Logan Ryan.

Ryan felt sick after the incident and had his people reach out to Prescott that night. He sent Prescott a couple of books to read.

While the two havent had a chance to talk during the season, Ryan knows what Prescott is experiencing. He fractured his left leg playing for Tennessee in a game against the Giants at the end of the 2018 season.

I snapped my leg on a fluke play, Ryan said Wednesday. It really made me a better player, it made me become maniacal with my workouts, maniacal with my training. It was my first time missing football games, so I came back with just a deeper level of appreciation for the game and a deeper hunger and a deeper work ethic. I really started waking up earlier.

“I reached out to Dak soon after that (incident). Havent been in touch much since – obviously were both pretty busy human beings at this time of the year – but I wish him the best of luck and Im sure hes having a great recovery from what Ive heard and what Ive seen.

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AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner and Dave Campbell and Sports Writers Tom Canavan and Noah Trister contributed.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL


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