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


Charlie Smyth has impressed at the NFL Combine and pro-day trials in Florida [Inpho]

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 IPP programme, said he was “lost for words”.

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

“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 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.

What’s next for Smyth?

Smyth joined Monaghan goalkeeper Rory Beggan, Wicklow’s Mark Jackson and former Connacht rugby player Darragh Leader at the NFL Combine in early March as the four players attempted to earn a contract as a kicker.

Smyth, Beggan and Leader were then signed to American football agency ProStar Sports and took part in the pro-day trials in Florida, watched by NFL scouts.

Down Under-20 Ulster Championship winner Smyth landed eight of his 10 kicks – including one from…

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Author : BBC

Publish date : 2024-03-29 21:03:11

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