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Charlie Smyth Reveals Classy Welcome Messages From Irish NFL stars

Charlie Smyth Reveals Classy Welcome Messages From Irish NFL stars
James Fenton
By James Fenton Updated
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Former Down goalkeeper Charlie Smyth has given an insight into the Irish welcomes he has received since signing with the New Orleans Saints.

Smyth secured a three-year deal with the Saints after taking part in the recent NFL combine, alongside fellow GAA stars Rory Beggan, Mark Jackson and Connacht rugby player Darragh Leader.

Smyth's defection from GAA is part of the NFL's International Player Pathway programme, which offers opportunities to overseas stars from other sports to carve out a career in American Football.

The 22-year-old will now challenge for the number one kicking position at the Saints, role currently held by Blake Grupe, and he has been telling the BBC's GAA Social podcast about his experience so far.

Smyth revealed that he has been given a big welcome by the Irish community in the NFL, including the Green Bay Packers' Wicklow-born punter Dan Whelan.

Charlie Smyth on his NFL experience

"He [Whelan] was saying it would be great to meet," Smyth told Thomas Niblock and Oisin McConville. "He was saying it would be great to meet and get training together. He messaged me a few times and just said 'congratulations, let's keep the Irish rolling in the league.' Please god, there's a few more Irish to come."


Smyth also referenced Thomas Morstead of the New York Jets, who used to play for the Saints and is a proud Irish-American.


"Even the punter for the Jets reached out," he added. "I'm sitting there thinking these boys are big superstars and I'm someone who started kicking football seven months ago. They're reaching out to support, which is really class."

Mark Jackson waiting for call from NFL

While Smyth signed on the dotted line, the aforementioned Mark Jackson has come back to Ireland without being snapped up, but the Wicklow goalkeeper has told RTÉ that he is still hopeful of getting a deal over the line.

"I'm back in Ireland for the time being, just staying ready for hopefully when the call comes," he said.


"Before I left there were a couple of teams showing interest but nothing concrete as of now.

"I’m hoping that after the draft comes around and when the rosters are starting to take a bit more shape, hopefully the call will come then."

"I’m still training away, albeit on the other side of the world. If a team calls I will be over in a day or two days’ time, if a medical is needed or whatever."


See Also: Paddy Andrews Reveals "Naive" Approach Which Cost Dublin v Donegal In 2014



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