NFL to hold international combine in London


LONDON (AP) – The NFL will stage an international combine for 50 athletes from 15 countries next month in London.

The invitational scouting showcase is mirrored after the annual NFL combine usually held in Indianapolis. The idea is to find international athletes who have the skillset and potential to play in the league. It will take place Oct. 12 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Invited are athletes from Britain, 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.

Athletes will be evaluated for a potential position in the NFL’s International Player Pathway program from which such players as Buffalo DE Efe Obada, New England fullback Jakob Johnson and Washington tight end Sammis Reyes emerged.

Following the international combine, a select number of athletes who meet specific performance standards and display the potential to play in the NFL will be invited to train in the United States for three months as part of the pathway program. That group will be reduced again following the training phase, with some allocated to NFL teams for the 2022 season.

Previously, the league hosted such events in Australia in 2018 and in Germany in 2019. The NFL will also conduct a combine in Mexico later in October for athletes unable to travel to London because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.