Two years ago, the NFL introduced its so-called Pathway Program with the idea of making it easier for international players to find a home and establish themselves in the league. Now, it looks as if one such player has found his way to the New England Patriots: according to the official NFL Germany Twitter account, the reigning world champions have been assigned fullback/tight end-hybrid Jakob Johnson.
The 24-year-old started his career playing for the Stuttgart Scorpions in Germany before moving to the United States in 2014. After playing high school football in Florida, Johnson receiving a scholarship at the University of Tennessee as a linebacker. Prior to his sophomore year, he was moved to tight end. Primarily a blocker for the remainder of his college career, Johnson left Tennessee the recipient of a mere 3 passes for 23 yards.
After going undrafted and remaining unsigned as a rookie free agent, Johnson returned to Germany to play for the Scorpions again before becoming one of seven players chosen for this year’s Pathway Program. While he failed to earn a free agency deal through the program and the opportunities it provides, the tight end’s NFL dream is not yet over due to him getting assigned to the Patriots.
Johnson, who just like the other six players participating in the program this year got randomly assigned to one of the four AFC East teams, will now have a chance to participate in the Patriots’ training camp. If he fails to make the team’s 53-man roster — the most likely outcome — he will automatically join New England’s practice squad as an eleventh player that is ineligible to be promoted to the active team during the year.