Earlier this month, the Detroit Lions were awarded Aussie footballer Patrick Murtagh as part of the NFL’s International Pathway program. Unfortunately, the Lions announced on Monday that Murtagh is unable to participate in the program this year due to an undisclosed medical issue.
Therefore, the Lions have added another international player to take Murtagh’s place: offensive lineman Max Pircher. A 6-foot-7, 300-pound offensive tackle, Pircher has actually been in the NFL for two years already, serving as the International Pathways player for the Los Angeles Rams in 2021 and staying with the team the following year on the practice squad. He has yet to make an appearance in an NFL game but did play eight snaps at left tackle in the Rams’ third preseason game last year.
After switching from handball in 2019, Pircher got his start playing (American) football in Austria for the Swarco Raiders. He has also played for the Italian National Team and a German football team named the Hildesheim Invaders.
As a reminder, players who come from the International Pathway program do not count against the team’s 90-man roster. If they don’t make the team’s 53-man roster at the end of training camp, they can stay on the team’s practice squad without taking up a traditional spot on that team.
The Lions could definitely use some help along their offensive tackle depth. Backup Matt Nelson has struggled in limited action, while last year’s UDFA Obinna Eze still remains a raw, unknown commodity. Pircher is still likely a long shot to make the roster, but with another year of development on the practice squad, who knows?
You can see a little of Pircher’s work in that preseason game via this clip on YouTube: