Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Hope for Irish NFL star among frightening statistics

Patrick Murray; remember the name. A nephew of Ciaran Murray who won two Ulster titles with Monaghan in the '80s, young Patrick grew up in America and learned to kick football the Gaelic way, and the American way.

His father Aidan became hooked on 'America's Game' and so Patrick had someone willing to return his kicks. He got good enough at it to pursue a college career as a field-goal specialist and a punter.

He stands at 5' 7", but in a recent trial in front of NFL scouts, he landed a 61-yard field goal. The NFL all-time record for distance from a field goal is 63 yards!

Interestingly, he identifies his Gaelic football background as the reason for his kicking skills, having played all the way through underage.

The average wage for a kicker in the NFL is $868,005. The highest-paid – Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings – receives $5 million annually. Murray could enter that bracket.

So why therefore do 78% of NFL players file for bankruptcy two years after retirement?

Between the ghetto mentality, an addiction to gaudy jewellery, poor judgement and the inevitable trauma that numerous concussions will bring, that is still an incredible figure.

Add to that a player's body whose main motivation is to drive down the expensive medicines required by these players who have broken and maimed themselves for the cause, and you have a sport that is a sick puppy.

Let's just hope that Patrick Murray is guided through it ok. We think he will be.