The Jacksonville Jaguars signed first-year free agent offensive tackle Samuel Gutekunst to a contract as part of the NFL International Development Practice Squad Program. Gutekunst joins 10 other players who have earned positions in the NFL.
Gutekunst, 23, completed his third season in NFL Europa with the Berlin Thunder after spending the first two seasons with the Frankfurt Galaxy. The 6-6, 317-pounder from Karlsruhe, Germany, started seven games at right tackle after missing three games in 2007 with an ankle injury. He spent the 2006 season with the Baltimore Ravens in the International Practice Squad program.
The players selected for the program, which is now in its fourth year, have all displayed outstanding potential and performance in the NFL Europa, including German defensive end Ben Ishola. The NFL Europa National Defensive Player of the Year joins the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts practice squad after helping the Hamburg Sea Devils to victory in World Bowl XV.
Gutekunst joins four other players – WR Marvin Allen (Miami), LB Carl-Johan Bjork (Green Bay), DE Daniel Watts (Buffalo) and DE Ulrich Winkler (Tennessee) – who participated in the program last year. The remaining five players are RB Jermaine Allen (Chicago), LB Eduardo Castaneda (Houston), OT Seppo Ewvaraye (Minnesota), WR Iiro Luoto (New York Jets) and DT Salomon Solano (Detroit).
The Jaguars will return to the practice fields when training camp begins on Saturday, July 28.