NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS SELECT THE FIRST EVER EUROPEAN-TRAINED PLAYER IN NFL DRAFT HISTORY
Former Düsseldorf Panthers and German junior national team offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer is selected in the second round (58th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft
MONDAY, APRIL 27, 2009 – Offensive lineman SEBASTIAN VOLLMER made American football history when he was selected in the second round (58th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots with their fourth overall pick.
Vollmer becomes the first European-trained player to be drafted by an NFL club having started his career with the Düsseldorf Panthers from 2001 to 2003, winning two German championships. The former University of Houston lineman also represented his country at junior national level, making the all-star team of the 2002 EFAF (European Federation of American Football) European Junior Championships in Scotland as Germany was defeated by Russia in the final.
Vollmer was scouted by the University of Houston at the 2003 NFL Global Junior Championship tournament played in San Diego during the week of Super Bowl XXXVII when he starred for a European all-star team against national teams representing Canada, Japan and Mexico and a US team selected from Southern California.
“Sebastian’s high draft pick gives us great pleasure here in Germany,” said PETER SPRINGWALD, who coached Vollmer for three years at the all-star level in Germany and will oversee the Team Germany challenge at the 2009 IFAF Junior World Championship in Canton, Ohio this summer. Eight nations from four continents – Canada, USA, Mexico, Japan, Germany, Sweden, France and New Zealand - will compete at Fawcett Stadium at the Pro Football Hall of Fame (www.JWCFootball.com) from June 27 to July 5.
Springwald added: “We continue to work very hard to develop players, especially through our youth program and we have a lot of talented players here. I am sure that this draft will help our players. I hope that now some more of the American scouts will look to Europe and especially to Germany.”
Vollmer said of his selection by the Patriots: “I always set my goals really high, but I was super-excited; I was super-happy when I received the phone call. I was hoping and my prayers were answered.
“I think that I’m coming in just to learn things, to learn the system, to become a better football player. I think that that’s really the right place for a guy like me just to develop and become a better player. It’s just amazing to be a part of this. I thought I got a pretty good basic education when I was playing ball in Germany.”
Patriots head coach BILL BELICHICK said of Vollmer: “I think he’s certainly a developing player. I don’t think he’s had quite the football experience that quite the other football players have had, but he’s playing. It’s not like Stephen Neal, or even a guy like [Matt] Cassel, who didn’t really play in college. Is he as polished as some players at that position? Probably not, but he has a lot of good tools to work with. He’s a tough kid, very smart, well-conditioned athlete. He’s a big man. Like everybody, he has a lot of work to do. But I think he’ll work hard and try to do what we ask him to do. So I think he has a chance.”