No, I'm not traveling abroad. With the NFL Draft still six weeks away and free agency settling into a quiet lull, I thought now would be a good time to introduce a feature I've been thinking about for the last couple of months, frequently infrequent updates about NFL Europe over the next few months.
The inspiration to start it came with the 49ers signing of defensive end John Syptak today. Syptak was signed in May 2006 by the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent. After being released before the regular season, Syptak spent some time on the Saints practice squad prior to his release there as well. Upon being signed by the 49ers, Syptak was assigned to NFL Europe for seasoning.
For many 49ers fans, NFL Europe conjures up the taunting images of Lawrence Phillips . However, after you get past that, NFL Europe is turning into a key training ground for young fringe talent. Teams send over players every year for seasoning, and more and more of these players are coming back to earn starting jobs in the NFL.
And so this year, the 49ers have allocated six players to NFL Europe. They are (with NFLE team included):
- CJ Brewer, WR, Rhein Fire
- Vickiel Vaughn, S, Frankfurt Galaxy
- Jermaine Hardy, S, Rhein Fire
- Marcus Maxwell, WR, Hamburg Sea Devils
- Tavares Washington, T, Rhein Fire
- John Syptak, DE, Team TBD
The main training camp began late last week with full squad workouts beginning today (Wednesday), combined workouts and scrimmages starting next week and the season kicking off on Saturday April 14.
I don't plan on putting together a big huge preview, or updating on an entirely regular basis. My plan is to get you information about what the 49ers players are doing over there, as well as any prominent players that are free agents. While the Lawrence Phillips signing blew up in our face, there are plenty of talented players that could fill key holes for us in the future.
If anybody asks for more information over the course of the season, I'll be happy to include it. For now though, we'll just consider this a test run and see how it shakes out.