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Patriots activate first International Pathway player

Published Sep 22, 2019
Sep 22, 2019 IST
Patriots helmet
Patriots helmet

Reigning Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots became the first team this NFL season to activate an International Pathway player.

Full-back Jakob Johnson, 24, made the Patriots' active roster after New England cut Antonio Brown ahead of their Week 3 matchup against the New York Jets.

Johnson – born in Germany – was signed by the Patriots as a free agent in April via the NFL's International Pathway Program.

"Jak came in with a great attitude this offseason," offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels recently said.

"He really put his head down and worked hard through our offseason program, and then continued to do that in OTAs and into training camp — good attitude. He's been out there every day, toughness, willing to do the things that you need to do to play that position on offense, smart kid, studies hard, prepares well, knows what to do and is ready to go.

"And he's competitive, so I think there's nothing more you can ask of each player than to give your best and be ready to go when your number's called."

Normally players who are a part of the program, which started in 2017, are carried as an extra 11th member on the team's practice squads. Because of the roster exemption, teams cannot promote a player in the program to the active roster during the season.

But, the Patriots made Johnson a regular member of their 10-man practice squad, which then gave them the option of promoting him.

The move comes a day after New England released Brown amid sexual assault allegations that surfaced since he joined the team less than two weeks ago after he was cut by the Oakland Raiders.

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