The Washington Commanders have signed International Player Pathway Program defensive tackle David Bada to their active roster.
Bada, who grew up in Munich, Germany, has spent the last three seasons with the Commanders with an exempt status on the team's practice squad. Bada becomes only the fourth current IPP athlete on an NFL team's active roster, joining Philadelphia T Jordan Mailata, Washington DE Efe Obada and Las Vegas FB Jakob Johnson.
Prior to joining the Commanders, Bada played for the German Football League as a member of the Munich Cowboys, Ingolstadt Dukes and Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns. After helping the Unicorns win the German Bowl in 2018 -- he had 18 tackles for a loss and 11 sacks that season -- Bada participated in the NFL's IPP program.
Bada was not one of the players selected among the 2019 class of athletes, so he spent months training at IMG Academy in Florida, according to an article by American Football International, and spoke with coaches about what position would give him the best opportunity to succeed.
"They were telling me to play inside because of my long arms and size," Bada told AFI. "Playing defensive end and defensive tackle are very different so it was difficult at first."
One year later, he was assigned to Washington in 2020 and was told the news by Ron Rivera himself on a video call.
"Oh man, it was a dream come true," Bada said. "As I kid from Germany, I would've never expected that!"
Rivera said during training camp that he felt Bada was "real close" to getting a chance, and the progress he made over the past two seasons was clear during the preseason. He recorded six tackles and 0.5 sacks in two games against the Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs.
Bada has a shot to get his first bit of regular season action for the Commanders in a critical game for the team that will impact their playoff hopes.