Jamie Gillan: Scot’s remarkable rise from rugby-daft teen to Cleveland Browns punter

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From Jonathan Holloway
For BBC Sport Scotland
Jamie Gillan had no intention of playing the match and came at the US as a teenager who had never watched football.
The Scot will make his NFL debut after procuring the beginning job as Cleveland Browns’ punter.
It is a sudden increase to prominence for Gillan – nicknamed’The Scottish Hammer’ – that has ousted former Super Bowl winner Britton Colquitt, a 10-year NFL veteran, to get a location in the Browns’ roster.
Here, the 22-year-old tells BBC Scotland in regards to the slog of 18-hour school days, bringing rugby abilities and discussing etiquette that is kilt using a superstar team-mate.
There was only one game Gillan cared for growing up in Inverness. By moving out to attend college boarding in Edinburgh, desperate to perform for his nation, he adopted his dream.
“I was totally rugby angry and miss it,” he says. “The only reason I opted to visit Merchiston was because of all of the men they had placed through to Scotland.”
It had been there, because of promising fly-halfthat he built his talent for kicking away if his career took another trajectory that could come in miles.
His father was posted to Maryland and the family, such as a 16-year-old Jamie, left Scotland for a new life Stateside.
Even then, he fell to a end. Gillan approached the coach of his high school soccer team with the intention of blowing off his way on the team in order to stay fit through the French off-season after pursuing rugby regionally in his new home.
With a couple alterations to his technique, Gillan became offers of scholarships to play college soccer and the kicker started to arrive.
“I had been a tiny bit undersized in Scotland,” he explained. “When I came out hereI had been hoping to acquire bigger and I just happened to find the football side and I was like,’I might also provide a it a’ burst’.
“My mates were telling me that you might receive scholarships for kicking a ball and that I did not believe them at first. However, I thought I’d give it a try once I watched the man missing field objectives.”
Gillan instantly created a name for himself in the fiercely competitive college game with the University of Arkansas Pine-Bluff, punting options in his conference and becoming one of the best kicking.
Over his paralegal profession, he managed 9,024 metres on 214 efforts and averaged 42.2 yards per punt. His longest punt was a 80 yards and he attained 27 punts that exceeded 50 yards.
However, the existence of a college athlete can be a demanding one and Gillan discovered the balance of sport and studies gruelling.
“It was unreal, really hard,” he said. “Up at 4.30am, running until you can not breathe, then you have got four courses later, then meetings, then weightlifting. Then you have got meetings through the night, then research hall from 8.30pm until 11pm, after which you are up at 4am. It is a ridiculous schedule but you did it like everybody else.”
Flourishing left foot and his consistency led to interest from the NFL, using all the Browns first to show their hand by encouraging Gillan prior to the 2019 draft into Ohio for a visit.
Punters are one of the positions from the draft because the team’s 32 teams replenish their ranks with the faculty talent that is young, so if he went unpicked, Gillan was not too deflated.
“However, I got a telephone call following the fifth round from a coach here and that he was saying he was hoping I do not get picked up,” he said. “Then, after the draft ended, many different teams predicted attempting to bring me in as a free agent. But there wasn’t any question, I was likely to return to the Browns as they had shown me a great deal of love.”
Joining the Browns Gillan featured in games, crunching with rugby-style handling which helped set him apart into returners. And despite the in spotlight and quality , he was not fazed, edging Colquitt to get the nod.
“I know lots of people get anxious and things but for me personally it had been fun,” he said. “We had a massive audience for the first game, bigger than any I’ve ever played in front of in Arkansas. But when I moved out there it wasn’t like a stomach of butterflies, shaky legs, or nervous – it was only ultra focus”
The Scottish Hammer currently shares a locker area with a few of the most famous names in American game.
The biggest trade of the season of the NFL saw superstar receiver Odell Beckham Jr arrive in the New York Giants in Cleveland. And after sporting a kilt into the Met Gala, Beckham could be wishing he’d sought the help of his prior to the occasion.
“It was amusing,” Gillan said”I did need to tell him, thoughhe wore it the wrong way. He wore the item completely backward. I told him and he was not shocked. He was like,’Are you sure?’ . I was like,’Yeah, I am 100% convinced friend! He has been good craic.”
On the chance of his own celebrity, Gillan all is carrying it all.
“I don’t think I am famous however,” he explained. “But it’s cool to get any fans and people taking the entire Scottish Hammer item and working with it. It’s pretty amusing.”
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