Taking a punt: The kicking coach who secured Charlie Smyth’s shot at the NFL

The kicking coach spoke as former Down’s Charlie Smyth flew to Louisiana to sign with the New Orleans Saints

Darragh Leader, Mark Jackson, Charlie Smyth and Rory Beggan.Picture: Inpho

As a former rugby and American football player who took a shot at starring in the NFL, Tadhg Leader knows what football coaches are looking for from prospective athletes.

Following the disappointment of NFL teams viewing his lack of kicking experience and game time as a barrier, Leader made it his business to pave the way for those from outside of American football’s traditional player pool.

“I knew Irish athletes could play American football at the highest level, whether that's college or the NFL, and that we needed to create the path that I would’ve loved to exist but didn’t,” he told the Business Post.