New Orleans Saints sign international kicker Charlie Smyth from Northern Ireland

Here’s some competition for Blake Grupe. The Athletic’s Kalyn Kahler reports that the New Orleans Saints are signing rookie kicker Charlie Smyth as part of the NFL’s International Pathway Program. Smyth hails from Northern Ireland and previously worked as a goalkeeper for County Down’s Gaelic football team.

He’s only been kicking an NFL football since August, but the 22-year-old is already good from distances of 60 yards in practice. He’ll have a chance to develop with a respected special teams coaching staff and possibly push Grupe. We’ll see if he can perform in a new environment over the summer.

The Saints haven’t shied away from adding international players before. Their punter Lou Hedley is Australian, and special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi values the different skill sets that players from foreign backgrounds can offer.

Because Smyth is joining the Saints as an IPP player, he will not count towards the 90-man offseason roster limit for training camp. Odds are stronger for him to hang on with the team’s practice squad after roster cuts in September than to unseat Grupe altogether, but you never know. Stranger things have happened in the NFL.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire