UK Journalist Gets Ready for NFL Combines

On most days, Alex Hoad introduces himself to others as a sports reporter for UK weekly newspaper the Kent Messenger. But for the next few weeks, leading up to some February NFL combines in New York, he will also have to explain himself as a would-be [American] footballer.

AlexHoadKentMessengerPicHoad has begun chronicling his unusual odyssey, and will continue to do so all the way through tryout. From a write-up on UK website Hold the Front Page:

The six-foot, four-inch, 19-stone reporter has signed up to the NFL Regional Combine trial in New York City in February after his application was recently approved. The opportunity arose when Hoad followed the fortunes of Team GB Olympic discus thrower Laurence Okoyewho who turned up to an NFL Regional Combine in Atlanta during a day off from his warm-weather discus training…

“My ‘worthiness’ or otherwise as a player, and my age, has been the subject of some good-natured debate at work and at home for the past couple of months, however under the principle of wanting no regrets, I filled in an online form, chose New York City as my preferred destination, paid a registration fee, signed some waivers and clicked ‘submit’ without a moment’s hesitation,” Hoad wrote.

NYC sports bloggers and reporters – mark your calendars. Hoad’s tryout is scheduled for Saturday February 15 at 12:30 p.m. At that time, somewhere up above, George Plimpton will surely be smiling.

Hoad is under no illusions. He thinks, in all likelihood, that he will get no more than “five minutes in the artificial halogen sun of the New York Jets indoor training facility before being politely sent home.” On the other hand, with the way the last Jets season went, you never know. A rangy Brit with a solid comprehension of X’s and O’s could be asked to keep working out with the team.

To remain abreast of all the latest Hoad pigskin developments, follow @AlintheNFL. Good luck!

Update (January 30):
In his latest update, Hoad details the range of other media attention he has received for this upcoming effort and also notes a rather impressive interested party:

[I received] on Thursday a call from Stephen Austin, the director of NFL Regional Combines himself.

It seems I am the only international ‘athlete’ who is preparing for one of these combines, and as such he’s keen to use my story to promote the event. From my point of view, if I can spread the word of a fantastic sport to a few more people then great.

The only cloud on Mr Austin’s horizon was my confirmation that I was born during the Ronald Reagan administration – it seemed any hopes he had of me being a First Round draft pick floated out of the window of his California office.

[Photo courtesy: Kent Messenger]