New Zealander Dan Carter just won his third World Rugby Player of the Year award earlier in November, after his All Blacks defeated Australia 34-17 to win the Rugby World Cup. The 33-year old fly half retired from international play after the win, but he still plays professionally for French team Racing Metro.
In a new essay for The Telegraph, Carter revealed how close he was to signing with the New England Patriots in 2013 while on sabbatical from Rugby:
We chatted with the scouts a little more, then they said: ‘Mr Kraft wants to meet with you.’ Mr Kraft was Robert Kraft, the team’s legendary owner who had bought them for £113million in 1994 — at the time the highest price ever paid for a sports franchise. I couldn’t believe that this guy wanted to meet me.
You could see how he’d become so successful, because he cut straight to the point with a series of very direct questions.
“Do you want to play football?”
“What are you going to bring to this team?”
“Do you think you can make the transition to the NFL?”
I mumbled my way through some answers, looking across to Luke, who seemed equally lost. We spent 10 or 15 minutes talking through the realities of the sport, and whether it was plausible for me to make the transition.
Carter never signed a contract, and it never progressed past the tryout stage, but Kraft stayed interested:
The next time I bumped into Robert Kraft was at the Oscars later that year. He surprised me by not only remembering who I was, but asking whether I’d made that tape for his scouts. I laughed it off, but I was flattered that he was still interested. The idea was still floating in my mind a little.
Unlike Australian Jarryd Hayne, who is a running back on the 49ers practice squad, Carter would have played as a kicker. Carter has tremendous kicking ability, as the evidence bears out:
He chopped it up with Patriots scouts, and left very impressed by their attention to detail:
I’ve worked with some incredible kicking coaches over the years but we had never gone into anything like this level of precision. The scout and I talked about the placement of the plant foot, the angle at which we position ourselves to the ball to open up the sweet spot, and the various parts of the ball. We went through film of six different NFL kickers in minute detail.
Carter would have been the highest profile rugby star to try and make it in American Football. If he wanted to try and hack it as a kicker, I’m sure a team would give him an opportunity. Someone who can boom this kick definitely has the legs.
Photo via Getty