‘If I don’t impress they can just cut me…’ Saints Top Star Open Up On Future That He May Leave

“If I don’t make an impression, they can cut me.” Charlie Smyth is focusing on what matters most as he gets ready to battle for an NFL breakthrough with the Saints.
The down GAA star is determined to take advantage of the New Orleans Saints opportunity.

Charlie Smyth claims that everything has “just been mad.” He was halfway through a master’s program in teaching at St. Mary’s when he received an offer he couldn’t turn down. He will now complete his coursework while focusing on making the New Orleans Saints roster.

The Mayobridge native made an appearance on the Late Late Show last weekend, and when he showed up at a Leader Kicking camp over the Easter break at his old school, St. Colman’s College in Newry, he was surrounded by awestruck teens. He was featured on the BBC’s GAA Social this week.

He manages all the attention with his easygoing charm, yet in a fifteen-minute conversation, he makes several references to how eager he is to start his life in the United States.

He clarifies, “We have a saying about ‘keeping the main thing, the main thing.'”
“I have some competition to get into the NFL, but my goal is to play there. It won’t be simple, as Blake Grupe, the other kicker, demonstrated last year when he won the challenge to start in the NFL.

“I haven’t actually talked to anyone yet; instead, I’ve been enjoying my time with family and friends and working out. I haven’t met him yet. When I get over there, I’m excited to meet everyone in New Orleans. I’ll be myself and we’ll spend a lot of time together, so perhaps we’ll get along.

“I understand that there would be a change, but I expected that if I decided to do this. I’ve already imagined how things might turn out, so I know it won’t be simple at first, but I’ll get used to it.

“To begin doing the work I’ll be doing… Few people, particularly those who are foreign nationals, have had this opportunity.

“I have to go give it everything I’ve got, and if it turns out not to be good enough, that’s okay, I know I gave it my best.” Although I am aware that it won’t be simple, I have faith in my ability to succeed because I have already reached this point and there is no reason why I can’t take this next step and open the next door.

He plans to attend the Mayobridge game on Friday night and support Down on their Ulster Championship debut on Saturday at Pairc Esler. He won’t be playing, in contrast to the two other kickers who tested out with him in the US: Mark Jackson of Wicklow and Rory Beggan of Monaghan.

The rookie from New Orleans said they will get their chance in the NFL.

“I’m confident that I won’t be the only member of this group selected,” he remarks.

“A lot of clubs have to pick up their rosters because the Draft hasn’t happened yet and the Steelers have an event where Mark and Rory may be picked up. I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to sign before returning home, and I sincerely hope the same for them.

Why then is he? In the previous year’s All-Ireland semi-final matchup between Beggan and Dublin, Croke Park was jam-packed. Jackson is a seasoned, top-choice county goalie. Why did the New Orleans Saints, who will host the upcoming Super Bowl at Caesar’s Superdrome, which seats 76,468 people, of the National Football Conference South Division choose to start the Down man?

Perhaps age had a role, the 22-year-old admits.

“I believe that all three of us kickers would say that we are the best if you asked us.” Rory, Mark, and myself would all agree. I believe I demonstrated to the teams my excellent leg, which allows me to get high height and pop on the ball as well as my ability to kick far.

“As a kicker, you have to believe in yourself. It’s a mental game; every time you step onto the field, games will be on the line, and you need to be able to focus and tune out everything else in order to kick the ball. If you’re too humble or don’t have complete faith in yourself, you won’t go very far.

“I try to visualize myself kicking the ball at the Mayobridge field, concentrating only on the kick’s controllables.” At the Combine, I demonstrated my abilities in front of all 32 clubs, and on Pro Day, 31 of the 32 teams were present.

On Monday night, HE attended the Mayobridge training. The pitch was flooded with water, the temperature dropped, and torrential rain fell.

He was thinking, “Thank God I’m going to New Orleans on Sunday,” but he wasn’t going to be basking in the sun.

“The competition for the starting spot occurs during the first five months,” he explains.

“My contract contains no guarantees; if I don’t perform well, they can fire me without having to give me three more years.” I therefore have to keep my eyes on the ball at all times or I won’t be here for very long. That’s the brutal reality of the NFL. I’m prepared; I’ll give it everything I have, and if it doesn’t work out, I’ll be okay with it. However, I won’t take this chance lightly; it’s simply too large.





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