Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Watch: Down’s Charlie Smyth kicks mammoth field goal in practice after accepting NFL deal with New Orleans Saints

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Pro Football Ireland are reporting that the Down youngster will team up with the Saints and if he impresses there, could become the first of the four Irish hopefuls who are participating in the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program (IPP) to secure a deal.

Smyth impressed at the Combine in Indianapolis earlier this month, landing 12 of 16 field goal attempts before converting eight of ten kicks at a ‘Pro Day’ in Florida last week, prompting the offer from New Orleans.

He also kicked this mammoth goal in practice today.

The news comes as Monaghan manager Vinny Corey indicated that he doesn’t expect to see another NFL hopeful – Rory Beggan – back in the Farney dressing room anytime soon.

Beggan landed a perfect ten kicks from ten in Florida but, like the rest of the Irish contingent, may have to wait until after the draft at the end of April to receive any offer.

“It’s very much he doesn’t know himself what the story is,” Corey said.

“It’s very much a waiting game for him over there, ya know? He shot very well the last day and I was speaking to him after that and he was very happy with how he went. I know he has put a lot of work into what he is doing and from his point of view it’s a waiting game now, it’s a bit of a limbo. He has nothing new to report, no word of any contract or anything like that. It’s a waiting game.”

Former Connacht rugby player Darragh Leader saw his participation in both the Combine and Pro Day limited due to injury while Wicklow’s Mark Jackson punted and kicked in Florida, having previously only kicked at the Combine.

All four Irish players are signed with NFL agents.

This season and for the first time, each of the 32 NFL teams have a 17th roster spot on the practice squad specifically available for an international player, boosting prospects for the Irish players.

The news comes as another franchise, the New York Jets, were awarded marketing rights for Ireland as part of the NFL’s ‘Global Markets’ program.

Ireland is one of the NFL’s 19 international markets with the Jets joining the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Jacksonville Jaguars in securing rights here.

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