Björn Werner’s wild six years culminated in him donning an Indianapolis Colts jersey.
Let’s go all the way back to 2007, when Werner arrived in the United States as a German exchange student. A few years later, the Colts drafted Werner, hoping he could follow in Dwight Freeney’s footsteps as an elite pass-rusher.
This is Werner’s journey from Germany to a professional football career.
Björn Werner was a German football star
Born in Germany, Björn Werner played football — American football, not what we call soccer — overseas.
Werner arrived in the United States in 2007 as an exchange student. He attended Salisbury School, a private school in Connecutity, and broke out as a pass-rusher.
Werner totaled 12 sacks and 24 tackles for loss in eight games. He returned to Germany and played on the U-19 Germany national team a year later.
In 2009, though, Werner returned to the United States for good. Werner had 57 tackles, three sacks, four forced fumbles, and blocked two field goals across seven games at Salisbury.
Despite his limited time playing high school football, Werner signed with the Florida State Seminoles in 2010.
Werner impressed at Florida State
Björn Werner didn’t need long to make his impact felt at the college level.
Werner had 3.5 sacks, six tackles for loss, and a forced fumble in 2010. Werner’s numbers increased to seven sacks, 11 tackles for loss, an interception, and a 25-yard touchdown on a fumble recovery.
Then came Werner’s breakout campaign in 2012. The junior had 13 sacks, 18 total tackles for a loss, eight pass breakups, a 9-yard fumble recovery, and a forced fumble.
Werner earned unanimous All-American honor and won ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
Björn Werner went from Germany to a first-round draft pick
Only six years after he played his first high school football game in America, Björn Werner became a first-round NFL draft pick.
The Indianapolis Colts used the 24th overall pick in 2013 on Werner. Werner had 2.5 sacks, three tackles for a loss, and three pass breakups in 13 games (one start) as a rookie. He added two tackles in two playoff games that year.
Werner started 15 games at right outside linebacker in 2014 and had four sacks, an impressive 11 tackles for loss, forced a fumble, and recovered a fumble. Werner didn’t record a sack in 2015, though, and Indianapolis waived him that March.
Although Werner spent the 2016 preseason with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team cut him that August, and he retired in January 2017.
Werner now serves as an NFL and college football analyst on German television.