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Giants sign Nigerian native and football newcomer Roy Mbaeteka

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Players entering the NFL usually have a background in football, but the newest member of the Giants has a different background.

The team announced the signing of Roy Mbaeteka on Friday. Mbaeteka was born and raised in Nigeria and did not play any organized football before taking part in a camp in his home country in May 2021. Former Giant Osi Umenyiora, who works with the league to develop the game in Africa, spotted Mbaeteka at that camp and Mbaeteka was selected to train at an NFL academy in London. He was then selected for the International Player Pathway program and went to work with former NFL center LeCharles Bentley in Arizona.

The Giants saw Mbaeteka, who is 6'9" and 320 pounds, at a recent showcase for players in that program and elected to sign him to their roster as an offensive lineman.

“Once you see him, you know he’s physically imposing and in a year or two if you immerse him in football culture, he’s going to be fantastic,” Umenyiora said, via the team’s website. “The Giants took a chance. Not much of a chance, I think. When you see him working, you’re going to know what he’s about. He is big, strong, physical, extremely intelligent, very athletic. He’s built to play offensive tackle in the league. In fact, he reminds me quite a bit of [former Giants tackle] Kareem McKenzie. He has the same temperament. He’s very smart, but he’s a very athletic player.”

The Eagles drafted Jordan Mailata out of Australia in the seventh round of the 2018 draft despite a lack of football experience and he’s developed into a starter for them. The Giants will be hoping to see the same out of Mbaeteka.