The journey from the tiny African nation of Togo to the Cologne Crocodiles of the German Football League to the Arizona Cardinals is a very long one. Now A.J. Green Youth Jersey
, still learning English, Moubarak Djeri is trying to navigate the tough and often complicated world of the NFL and prove he belongs."This experience is really big," he said after the Cardinals went through a voluntary workout Thursday. "That was like a dream for me to be here. Now to see how it's working, how you've got to work hard to make the team and be in the season, it's a really big experience."The 6-foot-3, 275-pound defensive end came to Arizona on a tryout basis but showed enough ability to sign a contract and earn a spot as one of the 90 players going through offseason drills.Djeri speaks four languages 鈥?German, French, his mother's native tongue of Kotokoli and "just a little English." He has been in the United States for three months."My English was not that good before I came here," Djeri said. "I just started learning better the time I was here, like speaking with my other teammates, watching movies. On the field, the coach is speaking English and you just keep understanding what they say."One of his best new friends is teammate Praise Martin-Oguike Cheap Mike White Jersey
, also a defensive end, who was born in Nigeria and moved to the United States at age 10."The language barrier, he might not get the communications sometime," Martin-Oguike said. "It's very difficult."There are other challenges. Martin-Oguike helped Djeri set up a bank account with a debit card to facilitate the automatic deposit of his paycheck. He showed him how to use an Uber app on his phone.And he provides lots of on-the-job encouragement."If I have bad practices, I just think about it and get myself really mad," Djeri said. "Praise says don't think too much about it. Keep going, next play. Tomorrow you're going to get better. It's something to motivate me."Djeri was born in Lome, the capital city of Togo, a small west African nation sandwiched between Ghana and Benin. One of six children, Djeri is part of a very large extended family. He has 27 aunts and uncles.At age 11, he moved with his family to Germany and in his late teens, he became interested in American-style football Youth Seattle Seahawks Jerseys
, first joining the Cologne junior team and then advancing to the senior team.Combined, he played just four years of football. But Cologne assistant coach David Odenthal saw something special in Djeri and put together a highlight tape that eventually caught the attention of the Cardinals. He was one of many tryout players, but one of the few that made the initial cut to become an undrafted rookie.At 22, he has a long way to go to master the game he loves."He's still learning the game," coach Steve Wilks said. "He's just got to continue to get better, keep putting the time in."The time required is so much different than what he had to do in Germany, Djeri said. He said players in Germany thought they knew what it takes to play in the NFL, but it's much different once it's experienced up close."To have it and to feel it is way different than you think," he said. "You've got to be every time on point. We're done now with the practice. We do our lift in 30 minutes. After that, we've got meetings again. After that, you go to the hotel and you study and after that you've got to sleep to be ready for tomorrow."Djeri sees how the odds must be against him."I just ask why are they going to get someone from Europe if they've got a lot of guys from college," he said. "They've got a lot of guys with four years' experience of college football. This is the difficulty to be here."But he is giving it his all."This is what I want to do every day Blake McLaughlin Ducks Jersey
," he said. "After the practice you feel like your body is sore but this is what you want to do. That's why it don't matter how you feel, you've got to keep at it every day to get better."Mike Babcock was at his daughter’s graduation when he received a text message from a friend about reports of a strained relationship with star center Auston Matthews. ”I’ll find out in the morning,” the Toronto coach replied. ”I’ll meet him. I’ll ask him in the morning.”As the Maple Leafs cleaned out their lockers Friday in the wake of a seven-game loss to the Boston Bruins in the first round of the playoffs, Babcock and Matthews addressed speculation the coach had ”lost” his player during the series. ”I said, `What’s going on?”’ Babcock told reporters of his conversation with Matthews. ”It’s interesting in Toronto, you (media) do such a good job. You’re everywhere. You’re under the bench, you’re in the crack in the door, you’re in the car, you’re in the parking lot. You’re everywhere, and any time anybody does anything there’s a big story.”I asked him flat-out, `Do we have any (issues)?’ He was sitting right there. We don’t seem to.”Matthews, who had just a goal and an assist against Boston Authentic Josh Allen Jersey
, said talk of friction also was news to him.”I don’t know what that’s all about,” he said. ”Our relationship’s fine. Obviously, you guys can speculate all you want, but I think it’s pointless.”Stuff happens, people speculate. I can tell you right now it’s not the case.”The 20-year-old from Arizona scored 34 goals in regular season despite missing 20 games due to injury, but admitted to being frustrated in the Bruins series following a Game 7 where Toronto blew a 4-3 lead in the third period before losing 7-4.”Auston’s a young man trying to be the best player in the world,” Babcock said. ”The hardest part in life is when you’re disappointed and you thought you maybe could have done more. I know that from me as a coach … it makes you sick, almost. He’s a good young man. We’re lucky to have him. I’m lucky to get to coach him, and we continue to grow our product here with him leading the way.”.