Former Wests Tigers winger Pat Richards eyes career in NFL
By Josh Massoud and James Phelps From: The Daily Telegraph March 12, 2010 12:00AM
PAT RICHARDS’ whooping right boot could be the former Tiger’s passport to NFL fame.
The 2005 Wests premiership hero will travel to the US when his contract with Super League team the Wigan Warriors expires, in a bid to become rugby league’s first gridiron star.
Richards, who famously kicked a drop-out 91m while playing for Ireland in the rugby league World Cup, will go to the home of the brave looking to carve out a career as an NFL punter.
“It is something he has thought about for a long time,” said Richards’ manager David Riolo.
"We haven’t had any approaches from the NFL yet but I have no doubt he would make it over there.
"He is a while off going over, but we will take him to the US at some point and put him in one of the NFL camps.
“He has one of the biggest boots going around and he would make a sensational NFL punter.”
Cowboys recruit Willie Mason was considering an NFL career before joining the Roosters in 2008. The rugby league giant travelled to the US for tests with the New York Giants and told friends he was offered a contract before penning his deal with the Roosters.
Footy Confidential hears there is real interest in Aussie athletes following the successful transitions of AFL stars Sav Rocca (Philadelphia Eagles) and Ben Graham (Arizona Cardinals), with the latter rated among the NFL’s best kickers.
Former Tigers boss and now Roosters CEO Steve Noyce says Richards’ boot is the biggest in rugby league and predicted the giant winger could be an NFL success. “He could just kick the ball a mile,” Noyce said.
“He is a bit of a freak. He is the only bloke I know of who could kick off and hit the posts at will. And he was probably holding back a bit.”
The 27-year-old, who holds an Irish passport, is also being chased by several rugby union clubs in Europe.
Richards was big news in the UK last week after he scored five tries and kicked nine goals in a record-breaking haul for the Warriors.
All looks bright for the former Tigers fan favourite.
And to think that Brian Noble wouldn’t give him a start in his first year at Wigan.
He bagged a heap of points again over night when the Warriors demolished Hull FC 48-24, converted tries from all over the place including a couple of superb sideline conversions.
Hull got a couple of late tries to add a little respectability to the score.