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St. Brown stands genuine chance of being Germany's NFL star

August 13, 2018

American football has returned as the NFL preseason gets underway. There's excitement over which players will make teams' final 53-man roster, and even Germany has a few irons in the fire.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (19) makes a catch during Green Bay Packers minicamp at Ray Nitschke Field on June 12, 2018 in Green Bay, WI. (Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire)
Image: Imago/Icon sportswire/L. Radloff

It might be a bit of a stretch to suggest Equanimeous Tristan Imhotep J. St. Brown was worthy of his Egyptian god namesake after an impressive performance for the Green Bay Packers in their opening preseason game against the Tenessee Titans. But four catches for 61 yards in a 31-17 Packers' win won't have done his hopes of being an NFL great any damage.

St. Brown's performance — one that included a highlight-reel moment when the 21-year-old nabbed a catch, pivoted and ran 28 yards — is the kind any player aiming to make the final roster hopes for at this stage. But it's particularly timely given it comes after comments made by Green Bay's superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who said that he was frustrated by a lack of effort from some of the young wide receivers, with St. Brown believed to be one of them.

Were "EQ" to make the Packers final 53 it would be a huge moment. Born to a German mother, Miriam Steyer from Leverkusen, and a two-time Mr. Universe American father, John Brown, Equanimeous is one of three American football-playing brothers. Having gone through the US school system, the St. Brown brothers haven't had much to do with Germany of late, but all three have dual US and German citizenship. 

NFL - Equanimeous St Brown imTraining bei den Green Bay Packers
Equanimeous' younger brothers could follow him into the NFL as wellImage: Imago/Icon sportswire/L. Radloff

Football not just Fußball

Viewing figures have increased so much in Germany in recent seasons that local heroes aren't a must for the continued growth of the game in the country, but they would make a difference.

Most German players have only been able to find berths on NFL teams' practice squads, and that's if they're lucky. Exposure and game time are extremely difficult to come by when not on the main roster like this.

Moritz Böhringer, the former mechanical engineering student who was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 2016, has secured a practice squad spot for the Cinnicati Bengals but, despite moving to a new position (tight end), is unlikely to make the final 53. Fullback Christopher Ezeala — playing with the Baltimore Ravens thanks to the International Player Pathway program — has yet to play in preseason but, like Böhringer, has secured a spot on the practice squad. Eric Nzeocha hopes to make the practice squad at Tampa. His brother Mark Nzeocha and Hamburg-born Kasim Edebali have both made final rosters and played in regular season games before, but face a fight to do so again in the 2018 season for the San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears respectively.

An offensive player who has spent time in the US school system is a bit of a first for Germany's American football stars, but early signs in preseason suggest that it might just be the difference between Equanimeous St. Brown having a memorable name and being a great player.