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Lasike named in Chicago Bears NFL squad

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/09/2016

The Chicago Bears have confirmed New Zealander Paul Lasike is in their final 53-man roster for the 2016 NFL season.

Lasike completes a transition from rising Auckland rugby player to the elite level of American Football after effectively switching codes four years ago.

A splendid pre-season was enough for the 26-year-old to survive the player cull after having been placed on a futures contract earlier in the year by the Bears, meaning they had first rights to his services.

Lasike's season will begin this Sunday when the Bears travel to play the Houston Texans.

The Auckland-born former Westlake Boys High School student simply tweeted "Blessed" when told of his status.

Lasike spent three years playing both rugby and American Football at Brigham Young University in Utah and impressed enough with his powerful running to be signed as an undrafted NFL free agent by the Arizona Cardinals in 2015.

He failed to make their final squad last September and was contracted to the Bears wider practice squad soon afterwards.

Lasike joins Minnesota Vikings tight end Rhett Ellison as a second active Kiwi in the NFL. Ellison is the son of former Super Bowl winner Riki Ellison.

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