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Cards Go International


The Cardinals have brought on linebacker and Mexican national Eduardo Castaneda (54) to be part of their practice squad.

The Cardinals have a recent history of Mexican connections. Monday, they added another.

As part of the NFL's international practice squad program, the Cards were assigned linebacker Eduardo Castaneda, a native of Monterrey, Mexico. Castaneda played in NFL Europe and spent 2007 on the practice squad of the Houston Texans.

The Cardinals are the lone team to have a player from Mexico play in a regular-season game when offensive lineman Rolando Cantu did so in 2005. The Cards also won the lone regular-season game played in Mexico, beating the 49ers in Mexico City in 2005.

Castaneda, 6-foot-3 and 253 pounds, played for the Mexican national team for two seasons. He was also a one-time teammate of Cantu – now the Cardinals' manager for international business ventures – at Monterrey Tech.

"Eduardo has been training for this," said Cantu, who made Castaneda one of his candidates for the Cards when it was learned the team would be getting an international player. "I think he can play linebacker in this league."

As part of the international program, he will bring with him a roster exemption, meaning the Cards will be able to carry nine players on the practice squad this season instead of eight.

The players can play in preseason games but cannot be signed to the active roster during the regular season.

Five of the 16 players distributed to NFL teams – one each for teams in the NFC West, NFC South, AFC North and AFC West – are from Mexico. Five are from England, two from Germany and one each from Sweden, Russia, Japan and France.

"Eduardo's got that one year under his belt in Houston and he knows how this program works," Cantu said. "Now, he just needs to work with one team. He'll learn the system this year, and hopefully in January, he'll have a chance to try and make the team."

Cantu became the first Mexican to play in the NFL when he appeared on the Cards' special teams during the 2005 season finale in Indianapolis. It turned out to be Cantu's lone NFL game; he was cut the following offseason.

Cantu's current duties are focused in Mexico, where he remains a celebrity. He hopes Castaneda earns the same kind of "Q" rating.

"We need a Mexican player," Cantu said. "It'd be perfect for what the team is doing down in Mexico."

Contact Darren Urban at Posted 6/16/08.

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