Whelan to become first Irishman in NFL since 1985-ZoomTech News

Wicklow-born Dan Whelan’s choice within the Inexperienced Bay Packers’ roster for the brand new season means he would be the first Irishman to play within the NFL since 1985.

Punter Whelan, 24, was named within the Packers’ preliminary 53-man squad for the season on Tuesday night.

Whelan’s inclusion had appeared sure after fellow punter Pat O’Donnell was launched by the Packers on Monday.

Neil O’Donoghue was the final Irishman to play within the NFL when he kicked for the St Louis Cardinals in 1985.

Dubliner O’Donoghue, who’s now 70, had an eight-year NFL profession which additionally included stints on the Buffalo Payments and Tampa Bay Buccaneeers.

Born in Enniskerry in County Wicklow, Whelan’s household moved to Palm Springs, California, when he was 13.

He made the preliminary transition from soccer to American soccer at highschool, beginning off as a kicker earlier than changing into a punter in school on the College of California, Davis.

Whelan of the DC Defenders punts towards the St Louis Battlehawks in the course of the first half of an XFL recreation in March

At 6ft 6in and weighing 15st 5lb (98kg), he has spectacular stature and has not been shy on social media about demonstrating his kicking energy, whether or not it’s a formidable 73-yard area objective or a punt that goes out of the park.

Blessed with a booming leg, Whelan has additionally mastered the all-important ability for any potential NFL punter: grasp time – the flexibility to maintain the ball airborne with distance, giving his colleagues on ‘particular groups’ the very best likelihood to pin the opposition again and safe territorial benefit.

Excellent performances in school, with a punt common of 44 yards, meant Whelan attracted early curiosity from the NFL.

The New Orleans Saints provided him a try-out in 2022 earlier than he linked up with Inexperienced Bay.

Final season, Whelan had a formidable marketing campaign with the DC Defenders within the XFL, a minor skilled league, the place he was ranked third in his place and led the league in grasp time.

Whelan’s efforts within the pre-season then led to him being most popular to O’Donnell, a veteran with 9 seasons underneath his belt, firstly with the Chicago Bears earlier than becoming a member of the Packers final season.

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