Four NFC South teams are adding some international flavor to their rosters.
The NFL announced Thursday, the four teams -- Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- will each carry an additional overseas player on their practice squads during the 2017 season as part of a new International Player Pathway program.
The NFC South teams are granted an exemption for an 11th practice squad member to accommodate the program. These players cannot be activated during the season.
The league said it chose the division to receive the international players in a random.
The players include three players from the United Kingdom and one from Germany:
Atlanta Falcons: Alex Gray, tight end, a former England Sevens star rugby player. He is the first English rugby union pro to quit to take up American football.
New Orleans Saints: Alex Jenkins, defensive end, from the U.K. and played college football at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Eric Nzeocha, linebacker, from Germany, played three years at the University of Wyoming.
The quartet has been training for the past three months in Florida under the tutelage of Osi Umenyiora and NFLUK head of football development Aden Durde.
"This is going to change people's lives," Umenyiora said. "They have a great opportunity. They are going to be seen not only by their new teams but by everyone who might imagine they can be NFL players. They will inspire people around the globe; people who never thought they had a chance to make it to the NFL. Now they see they have a viable pathway. These guys have worked very hard for this chance and I am confident they will make a great contribution to their teams while improving their skills and understanding of the game."
More biographical information on the four international players is available in the news release from the NFL Communications office.