ELF: Wroclaw Panthers add the ELF’s top tackler, AJ Wentland

The Wroclaw Panthers of the European League of Football have signed the league’s top free agent in linebacker AJ Wentland. The veteran defender recently became available as his team the Leipzig Kings folded mid-season. He now joins the 4-3 Panthers as they look to make a post season push for one of the league’s wild card spots.

The 6’3″, 225-pound native of Rockford, Illinois currently leads the European League of Football in tackles despite the fact that the captain of the Leipzig defense has not taken the field since the Kings announced their financial troubles and eventually unfortunate ending of their season. Wentland put up an eye popping 84 tackles through only five games to go along with two sacks and four and half tackles for a loss.

Last season in Leipzig, Wentland led the ELF in tackles racking up 160 stops in only 12 games. That impressive number also included three sacks, 13.5 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles, helping make the Kings defense sixth best in against the run.

In 2021, Wentland hoisted German Bowl championship trophy as a key member of the Dresden Monarchs defense. After helping the Swarco Raiders win another championship in Austria, Wentland returned to Dresden at the tail end of that season. The late addition paid off, as he made 19 tackles, four tackles for a loss, and two sacks as the Monarchs won their first-ever German Bowl title.

The 2021 German and Austrian Bowl champion first began his international career with the Monarchs back in 2018. Wentland quickly became the German Football League’s most productive linebacker making a league-leading 206 and 205 total tackles in the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Wentland’s record-breaking play earned him All-Star honors both seasons.

Following the German Football League’s 2020 season cancellation, Wentland joined the Kuopio Steelers in Finland. As a member of the Steelers defense, Wentland made 36.5 tackles, four and half tackles for a loss, and one sack. The former GFL All-Star’s play helped Kuopio win its first Maple Bowl championship. His play in Finland earned him AllPandemic team honors.

Before coming to Europe, Wentland was a standout two-time All-American linebacker with the McKendree University Bearcats (NCAA, Division II) where he was also a three-time All GLVC (Great Lakes Valley Conference) selection. Over three years, he amassed a total of 412 tackles including 145 in 11 games in his senior year, 2017. He also had two touchdowns, three interceptions, and six forced fumbles.

Wentland now joins the Wroclaw Panthers as they look to make a playoff push sitting at 4-3. This comes at a perfect time for the Panthers as defensive back Lee Pitts was recently injured, opening up a import spot for Wentland to join the Panthers for the second half of the season.

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and