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Former Sun Joel Wilkinson set to rise as an NFL player in Phoenix, Arizona

VFL 2015 Rd - Northern Blues v Werribee
Ex-Gold Coast player Joel Wilkinson, seen here playing for the Northern Blues in 2015, is off to the NFL

ANOTHER Australian is headed to the NFL.

Former AFL player Joel Wilkinson has been signed by the Arizona Cardinals, with the team eyeing the athletic 186cm tall 24-year-old to play in the defensive cornerback position.

If Wilkinson, who played for Gold Coast, makes the Cardinals' 53-man roster he could go head-to-head with fellow Australian running back Jarryd Hayne.

Hayne's San Francisco 49ers and the Cardinals are major rivals in the NFC West conference, playing each other twice a year in the regular season.

Wilkinson's time in the AFL was marred by incidents of racial abuse from fans and players.

He also played for the Northern Blues in the VFL.

The Cardinals have a long history of recruiting Australians, including former Geelong defender, turned punter Ben Graham, who became the first Australian to play in a Super Bowl, when they lost to Pittsburgh in 2008.