So, this ought to be fun: Christian Scotland-Williamson, an enormous rugby union player for the Worcester Warriors, is leaving the United Kingdom to come take a run at the NFL.
“This [is] a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and one that I simply can’t turn down,” Scotland-Williamson said in announcing the plan. “I’m incredibly excited about testing myself and trying to get on the team roster at an NFL club.”
While he doesn’t yet have obvious interest, Scotland-Williamson is six-foot-nine and 275 pounds. You can’t teach height, as the saying goes, so he ought to get at least a few looks.
Scotland-Williamson plays as a “lock,” which means he both totes the rock and can lay a hard hit on someone when needed. Here’s a video of Scotland-Williamson in action, making a drive-into-the-turf tackle that would do J.J. Watt proud:
That video, from September, caused a groundswell of check-out-the-NFL pushes from Scotland-Williamson’s friends and fans. He attended the Minnesota Vikings-Cleveland Browns game in October at Twickenham Stadium and apparently came away convinced he could take a run at the game. (Yes, the easy “Browns aren’t really football” jokes are right there. Let ’em go.)
The NFL already has in place an International Player Pathway that helps particularly skilled players make the jump to the league. The Falcons’ Alex Gray, also a former rugby union player, benefitted from the program, and is a member of the team’s practice squad.
So where would Scotland-Williamson fit in? Defenses are so fast and so specialized that he might have trouble catching on in a linebacker role, but his size and hands could make him an ideal tight end candidate. Jarryd Hayne, the most high-profile rugby star to reach the NFL in recent years, played briefly for the 49ers before returning to his old sport in time for the Rio Olympics.
Oh, and there’s this: if Scotland-Williamson did make an NFL roster, he’d have the longest name in league history, beating out former Steelers/Jags fullback Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala. That’d be one crowded jersey.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.