Friday, May 24, 2024

Charlie Smyth: Gaelic footballer gets NFL deal with New Orleans Saints

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Down GAA goalkeeper Charlie Smyth has signed for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints on a three-year contract.

The 22-year-old will have the chance to fulfil his American football dream with the 2010 Super Bowl champions.

Smyth joins the Saints as a kicker after impressing at trials and will aim to make the active roster.

The Mayobridge goalkeeper has made his eye-catching move through the NFL’s international player pathway (IPP) programme.

New Orleans confirmed the deal for Smyth on Friday, as he swaps Gaelic football for American football.

Tadhg Leader, who is a kicking coach for the IPP and was integral in bringing Smyth into the pathway programme, said he was “lost for words”.

“I first met Charlie 6 months ago,” Leader posted on X., external

“He and his family put their trust in me. Then we embarked on a journey into the unknown. Thanks to Charlie’s talent and work ethic, we found a way.”

Leader added: “He’s rightly buzzing but already talking about training next week. Ireland couldn’t have a better ambassador in Charlie.”

Paul Sheehy, president of the ProStar Sports Agency which acts for Smyth, posted on X, external that he was “having a toast in the office to Charlie Smyth on his signing with the Saints”.

The IPP is a 10-week crash course for international players designed to teach the required skills to succeed in the NFL.

Smyth impressed scouts at the NFL Combine and pro-day trials, earning an invitation to the Saints’ training facility.

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