Around this time last year, the words 'Jarryd Hayne' and 'NFL' were about as common as any other athlete and their code in Australian sports media. But the Hayne Plane could splitting sports page mentions with two new Aussie counterparts in the NFL mix this upcoming season.
For the first time ever, multiple Australians were selected in the NFL Draft, which occurred in Chicago over the weekend.
The Denver Broncos picked up Melbourne-born defensive lineman Adam Gotsis, from Georgia Tech, in the second round. The New York Jets selected Lachlan Edwards, a punter from the Mornington Pennisula in round seven.
Edwards played for Sam Houston State, and only took up American football four years ago.
Gotsis—who signed a four year US$4.8 million rookie contract—was quizzed by Denver media about his Aussie roots when presented to them by club legend John Elway, who asked about his love for AC/DC, and how his Aussie Rules background might help him in the NFL.
"It definitely helps," he said. "You end up running eight or ten miles a game continuously and playing with bursts as well."
The Denver front office was raving about the 1.96 metre, 126 kg Melbournian. "He's one of the gym rat types of guys," Broncos' defensive line coach Bill Kollar said, of the Aussie.
Gotsis and Edwards weren't the only Aussie prospects getting good news. After missing out on getting his name called, Sydney's Blake Muir signed a free agent deal with the San Francisco 49ers. The Baylor offensive lineman will get a pre-season training camp, alongside Hayne, to prove his potential value to the team. The New York Jets also signed Melbourne's Tom Hackett as a free agent punter.
The first Australian to play in the NFL was Melbourne-born punter Colin Ridgway, who donned the Dallas Cowboys jersey three times in 1965 season. Ridgway, who was also an Olympic high jumper at the 1956 Melbourne Games, was an undrafted free agent when he signed with the Cowboys.