Green Bay Packers add Kenneth Odumegwu, part of International Player Pathway program, bringing roster to 89

Kassidy Hill
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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GREEN BAY − The Green Bay Packers have added another face to their incoming 2023 class in defensive lineman Kenneth Odumegwu, who will be joining the Packers from Nigeria as part of the NFL International Player Pathway program.

Odumegwu was first introduced to American football via Educational Basketball while at Anambra State in Nigeria. From there, he attended Osi Umenyiora’s NFL Africa Touchdown Camp in Accra, Ghana, where he was named defensive most valuable player.

Last October, Odumegwu took part with 38 players from 13 countries in the NFL IPP Combine in London at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where he finished with a reported 4.8 40-yard dash and a 33.5-inch vertical jump, according to American Football International. Eight players chosen to be a part of IPP were then invited to a 10-week intensive training camp at IMG Academy this offseason, and were able to work out for NFL scouts at the University of South Florida's pro day.

The IPP, first established in 2017, provides a chance for elite international athletes to compete at the NFL level, improve skills and possibly earn a roster spot with an NFL club. This year, the eight teams of the NFC North and AFC West were chosen by random draw to each be allocated one player from the IPP program.

With the addition of Odumegwu, the Packers roster sits at 89 players. The Packers two-day rookie minicamp will take place this weekend, starting Friday, with OTAs set to start May 22 for the entire team.

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Teams must be at 53 players and 16 practice squad players by the start of the regular season. However, Odumegwu could be added to the Packers practice squad as an additional 17th member, since teams are eligible for international player practice squad exemption.

Under original rules for the IPP, players were to remain on the practice squad throughout the season. However, new rules established in 2021 allow players to be elevated to the active roster. This requires clubs to terminate the IPP contract and sign the player to a practice player contract. The player must then stay on the practice squad for three games, at which point they can be elevated to the active game-day roster. After that point, players may not be sent back to the practice squad under the IPP exemption.  

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