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What is the NFL International Player Pathway Program?

The San Francisco 49ers’ Alfredo Gutiérrez is one of two Mexican players who made it to the NFL through the International Player Pathway Program.

Estados UnidosUpdate:
Alfredo Gutiérrez hopes to inspire Mexican children through the NFL

Alfredo Gutiérrez fulfilled a dream he had held for many years by playing for the San Francisco 49ers during the NFL preseason.

In an interview with the EFE news agency, the Niners offensive lineman said that he wants to inspire Mexican children to follow in his footsteps and try and make it to the NFL. Gutiérrez and Isaac Alarcón, an offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys, are the two Mexican players who will play in the NFL in 20022 after coming through the International Player Pathway Program (IPP).

Gutiérrez: “You learn a lot from facing guys like Javon Kinlaw, Nick Bosa or Fred Warner”

“Hard work is the only thing that will pave the way for you, no matter how tall you are; we just need to believe in ourselves. I hope that what I do inspires kids in Mexico to know that they can get to the NFL”, said the Tec de Monterrey graduate.

Despite playing for the 49ers during preseason, Gutiérrez was not part of the 53-player roster for the start of the season. However, the Tijuana native will be part of the practice squad thanks to the Niners receiving an extra spot because the Mexican is part of the IPP.

During workouts this season, the 26-year-old offensive tackle will face one of the best defenses not only in the NFC West, but in the entire NFL.

“You learn a lot from facing guys like Javon Kinlaw, Nick Bosa or Fred Warner, they are duels that make me a better player. I hope that competing against them will give me an opportunity in the future.”

IPP prospects in the pipeline

The NFL announced the International Combine will be held at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London between 3 and 4 October, 2022, with 44 athletes seeking a place in the NFL. Among this select group are Héctor Zepeda and Ernesto Ibarra Rodríguez. Like Gutiérrez and Alarcón, Zepeda is another OL from Tec de Monterrey, while Ibarra is a linebacker at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León.

Among other Spanish-speaking athletes are in the IPP are Panama’s Jaime Humberto Jirón Bowles, who plays as a TE and DE with the Universidad del Valle de México and Spaniards Gabriel Rodríguez, an OL, and linebacker Alejandro Fernández Nieto, who both play for the Barcelona Dragons.


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