The Bills added some international flavor to their roster Monday, as they were allocated NFL International player Christian Wade.
Wade (5-8, 190) was identified as one of four players to be allocated to an AFC East club this year as part of the league’s 2019 International Player Pathway Program.
Instituted in 2017, the program aims to provide elite international athletes the opportunity to compete at the NFL level, improve their skills, and ultimately earn a spot on an NFL roster.
The league identified seven top athletes from five countries last December who competed for the four placements in the 2019 program. Athletes from Australia, Brazil, Germany, Mexico and the United Kingdom included two professional Rugby players, Valentine Holmes and Wade, who are attempting to cross over to the NFL.
Wade, 27, who has played Rugby since his mid-teens, has represented the English National Rugby Team at the U16, U18 and U20 levels. He was selected to the prestigious British and Irish Lions squad, the highest honor for a rugby player in the UK.
His 82 Premiership Rugby tries (touchdowns) ranks third on the league’s all-time list. Wade is a projected running back, as most of his success in rugby came as a ball carrier.
The Bills and the other three AFC East clubs each get a roster exemption from the NFL, allowing them to carry 91 players on their roster instead of the typical 90-player offseason roster.
At the conclusion of training camp, players will be eligible for an international player practice squad exemption with teams being given an exemption for an eleventh practice squad member – ineligible to be activated during the season.
Since December, Wade and the other candidates trained alongside NFL veterans and draft hopefuls in Florida under the supervision of IMG Academy coaches, including running back coach Earnest Byner, offensive line coach Paul Dunn, linebackers coach Pepper Johnson and wide receiver coach Larry Kirksey.
With the 2019 free agency period officially open, here's a look at Buffalo's acquisitions.