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NFL to allow helmet decals for international players during preseason

Aug 12, 2021, 11:25 AM | Updated: 12:49 pm

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 19: The helmet worn by Deionte Thompson #22 of the Arizona Cardinals aga...

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 19: The helmet worn by Deionte Thompson #22 of the Arizona Cardinals against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on October 19, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The NFL announced that teams will be permitted to sign or elevate players from their international development program to the active roster during the regular season, and those players will be able to wear helmet decals of their home countries this preseason, subject to certain rules, per Tom Pelissero.

The rule will allow international players to be signed or elevated if their roster exemption is removed and they remain on a team’s practice squad for at least three games. Each team will get to use one exception each year.

The memo states that the 14 different international pathway players can wear their home country’s flag (alongside the U.S. flag) on their helmets this preseason.

This year’s decals will be from Austria, the UK, Mexico, Italy, Brazil, Australia and Chile. The Cardinals player that may wear a foreign flag on his helmet is Austrian tight end Bernhard Seikovits.

Seikovits joined the Cardinals as part of the 2021 International Player Pathway Program class. The tight end served as the captain of the Austrian men’s national football team and in 2020 put up 262 yards and four touchdowns in three playoff games for his club team.

He has been in the NFL’s program for two years but was not chosen for allocation in his first year after admittingly needing to add weight and prepare his body more.

The Cardinals’ preseason opener is Friday against the Dallas Cowboys at State Farm Stadium.  The Cowboys also have an IPP player in Isaac Alarcon, who is from Mexico.

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