In what seems like an effort to promote and grow American football worldwide, the NFL will stage an international combine for 50 athletes representing 15 different countries next month in London.
The international combine, which will take place on Oct 12. at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, will directly mirror the annual NFL Draft Combine which usually takes place in Indianapolis. The athletes attending will be evaluated for a position in the NFL's International Player Pathway program from which players such as Bills defensive Efe Obada and Washington tight end Sammis Reyes have emerged from.
The countries that will be represented at the combine include athletes from the UK, Germany, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, France, Nigeria, Austria, Slovakia, Italy, Switzerland, Japan, Finland, Sweden and Hungary.
“Through the event, we hope to discover new talent, create more global exposure of the game and provide an opportunity for participants to compete at the highest level," said Damani Leech, NFL chief operating officer of international.
Once a select number of athletes are chosen based on specific performance markers, the NFL will invite them to train in the United States for three months. During the three months, the group will be reduced again, with some players being assigned to NFL teams for the start of the 2022 season.
This isn’t the NFL’s first time at trying to promote the game internationally.
They formed the unsuccessful NFL Europe league which lasted over a decade and more recently, holding events in Australia in 2018 and Germany in 2019. The league will also hold another combine in Mexico later in October for athletes’ unable to make the London combine due to COVID-19 restrictions.