Johnathan Joseph expects more U.K. talent to make way to NFL

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Houston Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph believes the NFL will begin seeing an increased pipeline of talent coming from the United Kingdom in the near future.

According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, Joseph, who has spent the week in the U.K. to promote the NFL’s games there this season, believes that there is plenty of talent to be developed and kids that will want to give a run at making the NFL a shot.

Absolutely,” Joseph said. “It’s only a matter of time before we have a (British) player on a roster.

“The NFL’s doing so much to promote our football over here. You find a talent pool like they have here, and they start to work at getting better, and, in time, I think you’ll see several players in the NFL coming from here.”

British rugby player Christian Wade is trying to make the conversion to football with the Buffalo Bills this offseason. However, he’s not the only player from the U.K. currently on an NFL roster. Baltimore Ravens guard Jermaine Eluemunor, New England Patriots safety Obi Melifonwu and Philadelphia Eagles running back Jay Ajayi were all born in London before moving to the U.S. as children. Meanwhile, Carolina Panthers defensive end Efe Obada grew up in London after his family immigrated from Nigeria before starting football in London and getting interest from NFL teams.

Osi Umenyiora, Menelik Watson, Dominique Foxworth, Lawrence Okoye, Visanthe Shiancoe, Lawrence Tynes and Graham Gano all have U.K. roots as well before picking up football and making the NFL.

Joseph has been involved in coaching clinics during his time in the U.K. as well and was excited by the eagerness to learn of the groups he worked with.

“This has been a great experience for me,” Joseph said. “I’ve been so impressed with the kids. They’re eager to learn, and there’s definitely talent here. They want to be coached up.

“I’ve seen some great plays made by guys and girls. There are no egos here. The kids have opened their eyes and ears, and when you have that, the future’s bright for them.”

Many of the players to eventually make the NFL from the U.K. relocated to the United States and played football in college before going pro. Okoye, Obada and Wade would be among the exceptions. It may still be the most reasonable avenue for players across the pond interested in football to forge a path to the NFL for now. But with the league playing more and more games in London as they look to expand their footprint, there may be more players willing to give the game a go in the future.


5 responses to “Johnathan Joseph expects more U.K. talent to make way to NFL

  1. I find these comments to be extremely, over-the-top NFL propaganda ….. once again. In watching the video of the camp being held to select the English kids to promote further in their football quests, there wasn’t one athlete in the bunch. Go back and watch. Steve Urkel pushing up his glasses as he goes out on his routes, at a snail’s pace, was hardly encouraging. I know the players were doing their best P.R. work across the pond, but it will be cold day in you know where before the British are Coming.

  2. In UK there’s no tradition of pro-sports using college for fake education nor such “students” as unpaid entertainment staff for colleges and cost-free apprenticeships for billionaire pros.

    Most pro, semi-pro and amatuer teams over there instead have a long tradition of running youth teams and B-teams which both develops talent and makes them more involved in the community, and gives fans more local games too. Frankly, it’s a better system, and the players often go pro in their late teens. And don’t give me “they’re too young” – some teens have even made it into England’s national rugby team over the years – the record holder is George Ford aged 16 and 237 days (in 2009).

    And if our NFL teams had youth teams and B teams playing in various feeder leagues it’d be easier for both Americans and non-Americans to get into football. Not least because other (non-NFL) smaller teams could exist locally to take them on in those various leagues.

  3. American football is just an evolved version of rugby, which is a more traditional sport in the UK (much like baseball evolved from cricket). So it’s still developing as a sport over there. If there is enough focus and attention put on it, there are obviously a number of tremendous athletes that would be able to play in the NFL. But it will be a while before enough attention gets put on the sport over rugby and soccer.

  4. To me soccer is almost too boring to watch. Must be in their blood or something because honestly I don’t know how those Brits an watch all that soccer aka “Football” all the time, from August until the following June! Doncha just love nil-nil games? Sheesh! Plus without a salary cap, the Premier League can just keep on signing all those AC Milan, PSG, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Real Madrid etc players to zillion pound contracts with no consequences…So I don’t see NFL ever really making it there.

  5. “Absolutely,” Joseph said. “It’s only a matter of time before we have a (British) player on a roster.

    Isn’t Ajayi from the UK?

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