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European League of Football (ELF) Offseason Update: Gary Kubiak to Advise Wroclaw Panthers & More

Gary Kubiak Will Serve As Advisor To Wroclaw Panthers

Former NFL head coach and four-time Super Bowl Champion Gary Kubiak has agreed to serve as an advisor to the Wroclaw Panthers in 2022 after meeting with team representatives at the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) in San Antonio, Texas last week.

In his role, Kubiak will regularly advise Panthers head coach Jakub Samel on day-to-day operations. While the role is expected to be primarily a remote position, Kubiak plans to visit Wroclaw when possible to help the Polish franchise. He is expected to travel to Poland soon to meet with Jakub Samel and begin revamping the organization. Samel expressed his excitement in a press release, stating,

“Gary Kubiak is without a doubt one of the best and most recognized coaches in the NFL. [He] has a record of four Super Bowl wins and obviously has huge experience as [an] offensive coordinator and head coach for the best teams in the world”

Kubiak was selected by the Denver Broncos in the 8th round of the 1983 NFL Draft and served as the backup quarterback to Hall of Famer John Elway from 1983 to 1991. Following his career as a player, he’d begin coaching at Texas A&M University in 1992 as the team’s running back coach.

Two years later, Kubiak began his NFL coaching career as the quarterback coach for the San Francisco 49ers, then would go on to be hired as the offensive coordinator & quarterbacks coach of the Denver Broncos in 1995. He’d serve as the offensive coordinator of the Broncos until the end of the 2005 season, then took over as head coach of the Houston Texans from 2006 to 2013. Kubiak took on the role of Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator in 2014 before taking over as the head coach of the Denver Broncos from 2015-2016. He’d also gain experience in an executive role, serving as a Senior Personnel Advisor to the Denver Broncos from 2017 to 2018.

Most recently, Kubiak served as an assistant head coach and offensive advisor to the Minnesota Vikings in 2019, also assuming the role of offensive coordinator in 2020 before officially retiring from the NFL.

ELF Players in the NFL’s International Pathways Program (IPP)

Stuttgart Surge defensive back Marcel Dabo and Berlin Thunder defensive lineman Adedayo Odeleye have received invites to participate in the NFL’s International Pathways Program. In the program, they will join 11 other international players and compete for a chance at an NFL roster spot.

Players will train in the United States beginning in February and participate in a March showcase in front of NFL scouts. From there, the players can either be signed as free agents or selected for allocation to an NFL practice squad for next season.

European League of Football Commissioner Patrick Esume addressed the media regarding Dabo and Odeleye’s invites, stating,

“Anyone who has seen Marcel Dabo and Adedayo Odeleye in training and in the league knows what skills they both bring. It would have been crazy not to take them into the International Player Pathway program. We are very proud of both of them and hope more players will take this step.”

The International Pathways Program was first instituted in 2017 and aims to increase the number of non-American players in the NFL while also providing elite international athletes an opportunity to compete at the NFL level and improve their skills.

Notably, 4 IPP players have recently impacted active NFL rosters, with many others still learning and practicing on various NFL practice squads.

  • Jakob Johnson, fullback (Germany), New England Patriots
  • Jordan Mailata, tackle (Australia), Philadelphia Eagles
  • Efe Obada, defensive end (UK), Buffalo Bills
  • Sammis Reyes, tight end (Chile), Washington Football Team

Players Signed/Re-Signed

  • Swarco Raiders Tirol – DB – Dartez Jacobs
  • Cologne Centurions – DL – Chris Richardson Jr.
  • Cologne Centurions – DB – Tufan Yagmur
  • Cologne Centurions – LB – Sango Vogel
  • Cologne Centurions – LB – Niklas Liesen
  • Cologne Centurions – LB – Lennart Weitz
  • Düsseldorf Rhein Fire – WR – Aymeric Nicault
  • Düsseldorf Rhein Fire – RB – Julian Zorz
  • Berlin Thunder – DE – Stanley Zeregbe
  • Berlin Thunder – WR – Robin Wilzeck
  • Barcelona Dragons – WR – Jordi Torrededia
  • Hamburg Sea Devils – TE – John Levi Kruse
  • Hamburg Sea Devils – RB – Gerald Ameln
  • Hamburg Sea Devils – OL – Robin Fensch

The Hamburg Sea Devils have signed former Frankfurt Galaxy running back and Offensive Rookie of the Year Gerald Ameln. In his first season, Ameln totaled 405 yards and 2 touchdowns in 11 games, giving him the 6th most yards on the ground last season. Ameln joins Julian Ampaw and Simon Homadi as part of the Sea Devils committee of running backs. Offensive coordinator Kirk Heidelberg commented on the signing, stating,

“With Gerald comes a very young and talented running back. I am looking forward to his season with the Hamburg Sea Devils. Already in 2019 I was allowed to train him in a football camp. He is very versatile and has a lot of potential,”

The Berlin Thunder have signed wide receiver and NFL International Scouting Combine Invitee Robin Wilzeck. Wilzeck has been considered one of the most talented wide receivers in Germany. He racked up 961 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, helping the Dresden Monarchs win a National Title. Head coach Johnny Schmuck spoke to the media regarding Berlin’s new offensive weapon, stating,

“He is the type of player that you would like to have 50 of as a coach. He is one of the most talented players in Germany, yet relies more on his hard work than his talent. He’s also an absolute team player who still has enough egoism to take the next step. He made his mark in the GFL last year and will do the same in the European League of Football. This year he has already been invited to the NFL International Combine and that is exactly the category of players he belongs in. We will support him where we can to achieve his goals. An absolute asset to our franchise and another step in the right direction!”

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Matt Lyons is a Writer/Contributor for XFL News Hub, USFL News Hub, & CFL News Hub, covering the XFL, USFL, ELF, and TSL since August of 2020.

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