Ex-Junior Springboks winger Lloyd Greeff will head to California next month to try out as a kicker for American football NFL teams. The former Lions and Cheetahs player, who also had a stint in Europe with Zebre, has been consistently kicking 75-yard field goals in practice, a distance that is eleven yards longer than any field goal in the history of NFL matches.
Greeff is being assisted in transitioning from rugby to American football by World Wide Scholarships (WWS) and Jim Ulrich from Enter Sports Management. With the backing of WWS and Ulrich, Greeff will participate in the HUB Combine event on May 23 in California where 27 NFL general managers will be in attendance to find new talent for their 2021 rosters.
The HUB Combine event is designed to help propel free-agent players into the world of professional NFL. WWS CEO Munya Maraire said: “There is no doubt that Africa is brimming with some of the best talent in the world and we cannot wait to link that talent with the opportunities it needs to be showcased.
“Working with ESM enables us to partner with one of the most prestigious agencies in the world with a reputation for placing undiscovered talent on the biggest of stages. Africa’s time is now and we are right behind our talent.”
Greeff, 27, has been training since being picked at the WWS scout camp in South Africa in December 2020. He added: “I have been training six days a week with a strong focus on speed work, strength and conditioning. American football is not too different to rugby when it comes to most training, but I have concentrated on my speed work more so as the game is focused on bursts of short sprints.
'The disappointment of the way it ended at Wembley is something that some nights keeps you awake a little bit. It wakes you up with a cold sweat'
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 29, 2020
“I’m very excited for the next phase of my career and playing American football is a dream for many and I know with the hard work and dedication I have put into my training, I can be one of the first South African trained sportspeople to play in the NFL.”
Former Springboks out-half Derick Hougaard was another one of last December’s South African camp tryouts near Pretoria. Effectively retired from elite rugby since 2012 due to injury, he was looking to sufficiently capture the eye of American football scouts and take his first step towards an NFL career just a month shy of his 38th birthday.
It didn’t work out for him but he told RugbyPass at the time: ” The way my rugby career ended, I didn’t get to play my last game in South Africa. Some people ask me every time are you going to play one more season, you’re still young enough? They don’t know the seriousness of the injury.
“But the reaction has been crazy and has put more pressure on not to make it but after getting into this position to really try and do your best, do your attention to detail and understand the sport as well, not rocking up and just kicking the ball. It has been overwhelming the support the people have given. I imagine if there is a small sliver of hope of making it, a lot more South Africans will watch the NFL.”
"Quite a weird accident…"
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 20, 2021
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