Irish-born Rutgers K Jude McAtamney one step closer to fulfilling NFL dream with Giants

It wasn’t too long ago that Jude McAtamney was back in Ireland playing midfield in the GAA and helping his hometown County Derry secure an Ulster Under-20 title.  

Fast forward just a few years later, and the youngster is set to compete for a spot in the NFL after signing with the Giants earlier this week as an undrafted free agent.

“It was awesome,” McAtamney said on the Pro Football Ireland podcast. “I’m relieved that I got signed, but I’m also really excited to take the next step. Obviously, it was an important step but it’s a step that I thought I could make and now I have made it.”

McAtamney played one season of Division II football before tranferring to Rutgers, where he went 12-for-16 on field goal attempts and set a school record for touchbacks over his final two years. 

Big Blue had nothing but good things to say about McAtamney throughout the pre-draft process, which is why the two sides linked up so quickly after he decided to forgo the events and go straight into free agency.

“Every conversation I’ve had with them has been positive,” he said. “I think they see something in me that maybe I didn’t even see. Even leading up to the draft they kept in contact with me and told me they’d have interest after the draft.

“They gave me their word that they’d let me know if they’d be interested or not, so I thank them for that. It was just great to get the phone call and then we verbally agreed on committing, it was awesome and they’ve been great throughout the whole process.”

McAtamney is the third Irish-born kicker to sign with an NFL team over the past two seasons, and he’s looking to become the first-ever to appear in a game with the Giants. 

While the kid from County Derry faces an uphill battle with veteran kicker Graham Gano and Scottish punter Jamie Gillian already making up the special teams room for Big Blue, he says he’s ready to do whatever it takes to fulfill his goal.

“That’s the dream,” McAtamney said. “It was a dream to get to this point and I’ve done that, so you never know what can happen. I’ll keep positive and keep my head down and keep working and I’ll just take it as it comes.”