4 international players joining NFC West practice squads

NEW YORK — Each of the four NFC West teams will carry an additional international player on its practice squad next season as part of the International Player Pathway program.

Now in its fifth season, the program aims to provide international athletes an opportunity to compete and learn at the NFL level.

The players are linebacker Aaron Donkor of Germany, who will join the Seattle Seahawks; offensive lineman Alfredo Gutierrez of Mexico, headed to the San Francisco 49ers; offensive lineman Max Pircher of Italy, going to the Los Angeles Rams; and tight end Bernhard Seikovits of Austria, headed to the Arizona Cardinals.

Each player will remain with his team through training camp. At that time, they become eligible for an international player practice squad exemption, though the player can’t be activated during the 2021 season.

Tight end Sammis Reyes of Chile, who was competing for a position in this year’s pathway program, was signed by the Washington Football Team in April.

“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.

Donkor, Gutierrez, Pircher and Seikovits received additional training alongside NFL players and draft prospects in Florida during the winter.

The NFC West was chosen in a random draw and becomes the fifth division to participate in the program.

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