Despite having never played American football in college, Germany's Moritz Böhringer has joined an NFL team after being selected 180th in the 2016 NFL draft. The news caps a remarkable five years for the 22-year-old.
Moritz Böhringer became the first ever international player to be drafted by an National Football League (NFL) team after the 22-year-old was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL draft. Böhringer becomes the fifth German currently in the NFL in the process, but is the first to be drafted directly out of the German Football League (GFL).
"I don't need a chair right now," said Böhringer on the set of NFL Network after being drafted. "It's overwhelming."
The Stuttgart-born Böhringer got his chance to play in the NFL after Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, on advice from NFL Network Analyst Mike Mayock, took a gamble on the German player who has never played a down of college football.
"I followed the Vikings because of Adrian [Peterson]. The first time I watched football was a highlight video on YouTube. He brought me to football," said Böhringer a few hours before he got drafted. The wide receiver added the Vikings were the one team who had been paying the most attention to him throughout the draft. With Böhringer now a Viking player there's no denying a whole host of German NFL fans will now be paying more attention to the American Football team from Minnesota.
After just one year of GFL action, Böhringer was named Rookie of the Year. A friend took his highlights and put a video on YouTube, which was seen by Aden Durde who was involved in bringing more Europeans to the USA. Durde sent Böhringer a message on Facebook asking whether he wanted to attend a training day in Florida.
"I ignored it at first and didn't take it seriously. I thought it was a hoax," said Böhringer, nicknamed "Silence" by his teammates because he's a man of few words.
At the end of February, Böhringer attended the Florida Atlantic Pro Day in front of 25 NFL scouts and impressed with his strength and speed. Böhringer's numbers would have put him in the top five of all wide receivers, had he attended the NFL Scouting Combine (where all college players showcase their talents ahead of the draft). Considering his size and weight - Böhringer is 6'4" and 104 kilograms - these numbers are even more impressive.
While Böhringer's chances of reaching the 53-man Vikings roster that will go into the 2016/17 season remain slim, his achievement already caps a remarkable five years for the 22-year-old. From mechanical engineering student to an NFL player - Böhringer's story will undoubtedly have inspired thousands of youngsters around the world to play in the NFL, and done wonders for the already popular sport of American Football in his home country.