Australian punter Tom Hackett’s disappointment with not being picked in the NFL Draft has been quickly erased with the New York Jets signing him as a free agent.
The bad news is he will have to compete with another Australian punter, Lachlan Edwards, for the job.
The Jets selected Edwards in the seventh round of the NFL Draft, while Hackett, despite his award-winning four years at the University of Utah, did not get drafted.
Minutes after the the three-day NFL Draft concluded the Jets signed Melbourne’s Hackett to go head-to-head with his countryman.
While Hackett has built up a high profile after being named the top punter in US college football the past two years and playing in the Pac-12, Edwards, a strapping 196cm tall big boot from Hastings on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula played for the lower profile Sam Houston State University in Texas.
Hackett became a media star for his Aussie sense of humour, joking how he was fat and ran like a penguin.
Hackett and Edwards join another Victorian, defensive lineman Adam Gotsis, as new members of the NFL.
Gotsis was selected by the reigning Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos on Friday in the second round.
The Jets have a history of signing Australians, with former AFL star Ben Graham spending three years with the team.
Australia punters Jordan Berry (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Brad Wing (New York Giants) currently play in the NFL.
Other past Australian punters in the NFL include trail blazer Darren Bennett, Mat McBriar and Sav Rocca.
Gotsis, from Georgia Tech, spent his first day at the Broncos, enjoying a tour of their Denver facility and fronting local media.
“Watching film on him, he is the type of player we like,” Denver defensive line coach Bill Kollar told reporters.
“He plays hard, runs to the ball, has some pass rush ability that we are happy about.”