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DT Markus Kuhn adjusts to Camp life


While the Olympic cauldron was lit on Friday, German native Markus Kuhn couldn't watch his countrymen at the opening ceremony. Rather, he was in the thick of the first day of training camp.

And even if the seventh-round draft pick wasn't occupied, he'd have to go knocking door-to-door on the University at Albany campus.

"Unfortunately, we don't have a TV in our dorm," the defensive tackle said. "But usually I would watch if I wasn't in these circumstances right now.

"I like all the track and field stuff. That's the old-fashioned part of the Olympics. I think it's really interesting. But just the Olympics overall, I think every event is something special. You get to watch some sports you don't usually get to see on regular TV. I think that makes it all interesting."

If being an international athlete – and a rookie nonetheless -- wasn't interesting enough, add visa problems to the mix and then you can begin to imagine Kuhn's summer.

Kuhn's work visa had yet to be cleared last month, leaving him unable to participate in Organized Team Activities. A trip back to the homeland cleared that up for Kuhn, who made the highlight reel with a batted pass in the second practice of camp on Saturday.

"I had to go to the American Embassy in Germany to take care of my work visa stuff," Kuhn said. "And my dad lives in Spain, so I had four days of vacation with him. Then I was training in Germany."

Meanwhile, wide receiver Domenik Hixon, also born in Germany, is trying to catch some of the Olympic fever.

"I'm trying to," he said. "It's a little hard throughout training camp, but definitely."

Fluent in German, Hixon caught up with Kuhn the first chance he could.

"The first day me and him were just talking German," Hixon said of when they met following the draft. "Everyone in the room was looking around seeing what was going on."

And in the spirit of the Olympics, here is a look at some notable foreign-born players on the team:

WR Domenik Hixon (Neukirchen, Germany)

  • Born and spent formative years in Neukirchen, Germany before moving to Ohio.

DT Linval Joseph (born in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands)

DT Markus Kuhn (Weinheim, Germany)

  • Played outside linebacker and on the defensive line for the Weinheim Longhorns, the highest division of the German Football League, before enrolling at North Carolina State at age 21 in 2007.

OT Joel Reinders (Oakville, Ontario, Canada)

  • Began his athletic career at the University of Waterloo in Canada as a basketball player.

PK Lawrence Tynes (Greenock, Scotland)

  • NFL's 1st Scottish-born player. His parents met in Scotland when his father was a Master Chief in the U.S. Navy. Tynes' mother is a native of Scotland. Tynes moved at age 10 to Milton in the Florida panhandle.

DE Osi Umenyiora (London, England)

  • Spent the first 7 years of his life in London, lived with his family in Nigeria from the ages of 7-14. In 2007, Umenyiora was made a chief in the Nigerian village of Okbunike when he visited there.

*CB Prince Amukamara's family comes from royal bloodlines in Nigeria. His grandfather was the king of the Awo-Omamma in Imo State of Nigeria, while father Romanus Amukamara was chief. His mother Christie Amukamara (formerly Nwachukwu) competed in the sprints for the Nigerian track team at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

*LB Mathias Kiwanuka's late grandfather, Benedicto Kiwanuka, was elected Uganda's first prime minister in 1961 and was assassinated in 1972. Mathias traveled to Papa, New Guinea in the fall of 2010 as part of his role as an African Ambassador/Spokesperson with the M-CAM Foundation. They are currently working on building water irrigation in Uganda, where members of his extended family live.

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