Germany’s Munich Cowboys reinforce defense; sign LB Ryan Newell

The Munich Cowboys have bolstered their defense in a huge way in welcoming linebacker Ryan Newell back into the fold.

After two years away with the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes (2015) in Germany and Cineplexx Blue Devils (Austria, 2016), Newell returns to the Cowboys where he led the German Football League in tackles three years in a row (2014, 2013 & 2012) amassing 513 total tackles in that three year span.

The 6’1″, 236 lb native of Lincoln, Nebraska starred at Peru State College (NAIA) where he also led his team in tackles.

American Football International asked Ryan about his experiences, both on and off the field, and his reasons for returning to the Munich Cowboys.

American Football International: You are returning to the Munich Cowboys for a 4th season. Why did you sign with the Cowboys again?

Ryan Newell: I wanted to play one more season before I retire and I live with my girlfriend in Munich plus once I heard Garren Holley was returning it was an easy decision. I thought it would be cool to go out with the team where it all started

AFI: How did you first sign up to play in Europe?

Newell: My DC from college was James Craig and every summer he would come to Europe to coach. I thought it was very interesting and after I graduated I attempted to come overseas and play but couldn’t find a team. After taking a year off from playing in 2011 Coach Craig got the head coaching job of the Munich Cowboys in 2012 and the rest is history

AFI: What attracted you to both Kiel and then the Blue Devils?

Newell: Kiel was a great opportunity to compete for a GFL championship and with Blake Bolles, Tyler Davis, Benedict Engelmann, and Coach Parker all making the move from the Cowboys I had very high hopes. The Hurricanes organization is one of the best in all of Europe and they are doing great things up there. Blue Devils-no comment…

AFI: What do you think of the level of play in Europe and Germany?

Newell: The level of play in Europe is definitely on the rise. With all the exposure from European players going to the states to play college ball and with some making the transition to NFL rosters it’s really becoming an opportunity for both Europeans and Americans to gain exposure or continue their playing career. After playing in Austria last season and the GFL the 4 seasons before that I would have to say the German league from top to bottom is much more competitive then any other league in Europe

AFI: What foods have you grown to like?

Newell: I would have to stick with a Bavarian specialty : Schweinshaxn mit Knödel!

AFI: Have you had a chance to travel and if so what countries have you visited?

Newell: I’ve done a little bit of traveling since I’ve been in Europe and seen quite a bit of Germany as well. I’ve been to Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, and the Netherlands

AFI: What has been your favorite city outside of Munich?

Newell: I really enjoyed Barcelona, it’s a beautiful city with a lot to offer as far as scenary, plus the beach and ocean

AFI: What have been the benefits of playing in Europe?

Newell: There’s almost too many things to list haha but I met my girlfriend while playing here plus the countless number of lifelong friends I’ve made from all different walks of life. The experiences and memories I’ve made the last 6 seasons I wouldn’t trade for anything and through all of that I’ve grown as a person and hopefully helped some people along the way. I have truly been lucky to do what I love for as long as I have.

AFI: Do you have any advice for players just starting on their European playing journey?

Newell: Take advantage of the opportunity if you get one to come to Europe, there are guys out there that may never get the opportunity to further their career and would kill for a chance to come over here. If you’re looking for teams keep up to date film and get on some of the recruiting websites like Europlayers and The Podyum. Keep training because you never know when something could come up!

Peru State Notes

While at Peru State, Newell played in 31 games from 2006-2009. Newell and his Bobcat teammates put together the best four-year mark under then head coach Terry Clark as they finished with 23-20 record while having three winning seasons.

Newell finished his four years with 203 total tackles – 65 of which were unassisted. He added 2.5 sacks for losses of 11.5 yards while also have 10 tackles for losses of 31.3 yards. Newell was credited with 5 pass break-ups, and 4 interceptions with 27 yards in return.

During his senior campaign, Newell earned Defensive Player of the Week twice and was named to the 2009 NAIA All-Independent First Team.

In 2013, while playing for the Munich Cowboys, Newell was one of players being considered for player of the year. The news release read as follows “And to linebacker Ryan Newell’s “Impact” is the turn of the Munich Cowboys, who brought the club from the Bavarian capital back to the German top.”

Newell did get a tryout with the Edmonton Eskimos in the Canadian Football League following his success that season, but the Eskimos were not looking for linebackers at that time. On his return to Munich, he led the team that following season with 190 tackles. That season Newell was selected to play in the second annual All German Football League Team.

Ryan Newells’s highlights from his 2014 season with the Munich Cowboys.

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Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.