NFL players spending the spring in Europe face a two-sided challenge in their time spent on the football field a half-world away from home. On one hand the players are in Europe to work on their own skills in an effort to advance their careers. But on the other hand, the Americans are natural competitors looking to help their new teammates to win, advance to the World Bowl and return home with a championship ring.
With that in mind, Week 8 action saw Patriots running back Kory Chapman leave the field in Amsterdam after Monday night's rare prime time game with mixed results. While Chapman recorded his second straight 100-yard performance with 115 yards on 14 carries, including a 42-yard touchdown, the Centurions (5-3) fell in defeat 30-12 to the Admirals (5-3) to fall into a second-place tie in the NFLEL standings heading into the final two weeks of the season.
So while Chapman is hitting his NFLEL stride, including 233 yards and two touchdowns over the last two weeks, he and his Cologne teammates are a in a two-week dogfight for a spot in the World Bowl.
Through eight weeks Chapman now has 566 yards on 100 carries (5.7 avg.).
In other more customary weekend action, linebacker Grant Steen helped the Frankfurt Galaxy (3-5) defeat fellow Patriots allocation Cedric James and the Rhein Fire (1-7) 20-13. Steen once again started at linebacker for the Galaxy, finishing the contest tied for a team high with six tackles. Steen also intercepted his first pass of the season returning it 32 yards. Through eight games for Frankfurt, Steen has 49 tackles, three special teams tackles, one interception and one pass defensed.
James had a modest day in defeat for the Fire, hauling in two passes for 32 yards with a long reception of 23 yards. For the season the former TCU standout has 29 receptions for 506 yards and five touchdowns, ranking him among the top ten receivers in most NFLEL statistical categories.
In Hamburg, tight end Joel Jacobs saw reserve action for the Thunder (6-2) in a 27-17 win over the home Sea Devils (4-4).
Wide receiver Ricky Bryant did not play in Hamburg's game against Berlin. Wide receiver Mark Bartosic remains on injured reserve with the Fire.
With two weeks to play heading toward World Bowl XIII on June 11 at LTU Arena in Dusseldorf, defending World Bowl champion Berlin sits atop the NFLEL standings with a 6-2 mark. Following Monday night's action, Cologne and Amsterdam are tied for second place with 5-3 records. The expansion Hamburg Sea Devils still have an outside shot at the World Bowl sitting at 4-4, while Frankfurt and Rhein round out the standings at 3-5 and 1-7 respectively.
Looking ahead to Week 9 NFLEL action first-place Berlin travels to Frankfurt, Hamburg visits Amsterdam and Rhein heads to Cologne.