A former member of the Kansas City Chiefs has again been chosen to participate in the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program.
Kehinde Oginni Hassan, a native of Abakaliki, Nigeria, joined the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent signing following the 2022 NFL draft. He was formerly a participant in the IPP program and the International Player’s Combine. This came after he was discovered by former NFL pass rusher Osi Umenyiora, at his Up Rise Academy in Abuja, Nigeria.
The NFL first implemented the International Player Pathway Program in its current form back in 2017. Through the program, international athletes are afforded an opportunity to develop their skills and compete at the NFL level as they work to earn a roster spot. Since its inception, a total of 26 international players have been allocated to NFL rosters. A number of players to participate in this program remain on 53-man rosters to this day, such as Eagles LT Jordan Mailata, Commanders DE Efe Obada and Raiders FB Jakob Johnson.
“The International Player Pathway program is an important part of our continued focus on growing the game globally and creating a pathway for international athletes to play in the NFL,” NFL EVP Peter O’Reilly said via press release. “We are delighted to see the impact this program is having on football development outside of the USA and are excited to see these talented athletes from across the world competing for a future spot on an NFL roster.”
Players will begin training in January, spending 10 weeks in the United States. They will have the opportunity to showcase their talents to NFL club scouts throughout the month of March. Players will either be selected via allocation or signed as undrafted free agents following the 2023 NFL draft, as Oginni was with the Chiefs a season ago.
If players are allocated, at least one NFL division will be chosen at random for the allocation process. The AFC West hasn’t yet been chosen for allocation since the IPP’s inception. After training camp, players allocated are eligible for an international player practice squad exemption, meaning they won’t count toward the 16-man practice squad limit.
The coaching staff in Kansas City chose to convert Oginni from the tight end position to a defensive lineman during the past offseason. While he didn’t make it through 53-man roster cuts, it appears that the position switch has been a success as he’s still listed as a defensive lineman. Perhaps he’ll even end up back with the Chiefs after a full year of work to get his weight up and training at his new position.