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Former Kangaroo switches to NFL

AAP logoAAP 26/07/2016

A former AFL club international rookie has switched codes for a second time, signing with the Carolina Panthers in the NFL.

American Eric Wallace, who played basketball for Ohio State University, spent three years on North Melbourne's list as a ruckman but did not play a senior game.

The 197cm, 102kg Wallace, who was nicknamed The Beast by his teammates, has signed a three-year contract with Carolina, who played in last year's Super Bowl.

Wallace hasn't played American football since he was 14, but cracked the Panthers' 90-man roster in the position of tight end.

The 27-year-old was delisted from North Melbourne in 2015, and said he made the decision to return home to pursue a childhood dream.

"I grew up a Carolina fan," Wallace told the Panthers website.

"Today, the dream came true.

"Coming back, the decision was whether I'd play basketball again or continue along the football path and put pads on again."

Wallace described an AFL ruckman as "the big guy who enforces things, kind of like a basketball centre," to his new NFL team.

"It's a different physicality. The AFL is more free flow where you've got a man and you guard him. The NFL, it's more head-to-head, trying to stop a 270-pound man running at you."

In an interview with North Melbourne's website last year, Wallace said his AFL adventure had left him in the best shape of his life.

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