Meet Bayron Matos, the Dominican Player Joining the NFL

Lead Photo: Via Instagram @big_manga07
Via Instagram @big_manga07

Bayron Matos might not have taken the usual road to the NFL, but he’s joining the NFL nonetheless. The 23-year-old from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, has signed with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent and will have a chance to compete for a spot on the team’s roster.

Matos, who plays offensive tackle, grew up playing baseball, his home country’s most popular sport. He liked basketball more, however, and moved to the United States when he was in high school to pursue a career in that, playing college basketball for the New Mexico Lobos and South Florida Bulls. Matos then switched to football in 2022 and participated in the NFL International Player Pathway Program (IPP), an initiative designed to “develop eligible global talent capable of competing in the NFL.”

Participants of the program worked out at USF pro day in March, with Matos running the 40-yard dash in 4.88 seconds, which raised his draft stock and had some pundits projecting him as a 7th-round pick. Ultimately, however, Matos went undrafted. Then the Dolphins came knocking.

A video of Matos receiving the news he was getting signed by the Dolphins circulated on X, formerly Twitter.

Matos himself spoke about the decision to change from basketball to football, saying in Spanish that from the time he watched his first practice, he thought, “I like this. Then three days passed, I came back, I trained with the team, and the rest is history.”

His family was also very excited for him, speaking from his hometown and making clear that they have always “supported him,” and are very proud of him being “the only Dominican,” in the NFL right now.

Here’s to many more years of Bayron Matos in the NFL.