ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Over the next two weeks, more than 200 NFL players, coaches and executives will celebrate their international ancestry and cultures with a new initiative, the league announced Wednesday. Players may wear flag decals that represent the country or territory of their nationality or heritage on the back of their helmets.
"The NFL is proud of the extensive collection of nationalities and heritage of its players across the League," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "We recognize the many cultures they represent and the excitement they bring to their home fans, which ultimately helps grow our game."
During this initiative, 14 Broncos players will wear international flag decals.
Six Broncos — defensive lineman McTelvin Agim, cornerback Essang Bassey, running back Devine Ozigbo, cornerback Michael Ojemudia, tight end Albert Okwuegbunam and defensive lineman Eyioma Uwazurike — will all wear the Nigerian flag.
"I'm very excited," Okwuegbunam said of the opportunity to represent his Nigerian heritage. "Wearing that flag, it means a lot."
Other players participating include wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (Haiti), outside linebacker Jonathan Kongbo (Democratic Republic of the Congo), tight end Greg Dulcich (Croatia), cornerback K'Waun Williams (Jamaica), defensive lineman Mike Purcell (Samoa), center Luke Wattenberg (South Korea), punter Corliss Waitman (Suriname) and guard Netane Muti (Tonga).
As part of a small percentage of Asian-American players in the NFL, Wattenberg said he will wear the South Korean flag on his helmet with pride.
"I'm proud to be a part of the Asian-American players in the National Football League," Wattenberg said. "It's a great honor, and I'm just excited to represent it."
Purcell, who is of both Samoan and Hawaiian descent, wanted to pay homage to the Samoan players and other Pacific Islanders who have defied the odds and made it to the NFL.
"Western Samoa is where my dad's from, so that's kind of what I wanted to represent," Purcell said. "There's not many that make it out of Samoa to America to be able to play football, but there's a few that have that have been very successful. I was trying to rep Hawaii as well, for my mom. Those Pacific Islanders, to be able to make it to the league, it's not easy, but we take pride in football and that gridiron toughness."