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Aidan O'Shea reckons Gronk could do a job in the Mayo full-forward line

The two-time Allstar is set to trade Gaelic football for American football as part of a documentary.

Aidan O'Shea is ready for some pigskin.
Aidan O'Shea is ready for some pigskin.
Image: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

Updated 09.30

AFTER MAYO TAKE on Dublin in the Allianz National Football League next week, Aidan O’Shea is set to take part in a very different type of NFL when he togs out of his kit, hops on a plane and travels to the US to take up American football.

The two-time Allstar is just the latest GAA star to try his hand at a very different sport and follows in the footsteps of the likes of Aaron Kernan (soccer), Brendan Maher (cricket) and Jackie Tyrrell who, last year, travelled to Florida to try out with the Miami Marlins baseball team.

O’Shea’s time in the US — what team or even what city he’ll be travelling to is still to be revealed — will be filmed as the next instalment of ‘The Toughest Trade’ documentary commissioned by AIB.

For the Pittsburgh Steelers fan, getting a chance to try his hand at American football is an opportunity he couldn’t turn down, even if basketball would have been his first choice.

“(Stephen Rochford) works for AIB and I think they came to him and he came to me. It was something he came to me with before Christmas and he said, barring injury, he had no problem with it,” O’Shea said yesterday.

“I’m going with an open mind, I don’t even know what I’m going to be doing but there is definitely something I’ll be able to pick out of it. These guys are freaks of nature so I’ll see how I get on.

“I’m not going to sit here and claim to be an expert on American football — I probably follow basketball a lot more — but, with it being much more accessible over the past couple of years, I’ve watched it a lot more.

“I went to the Jets v Giants before Christmas and really enjoyed it. It was unbelievable. When you watch it on TV it’s stop-start and there’s ads and that but when you are there the game just flew by.

“It probably helped I was having a few beers. It was just mental to embrace the craziness of Americans and I really really enjoyed it. It was insane, the parking lots with TVs and BBQs and it was just great.”

Source: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

The two-time Allstar said he didn’t expect to get a convertible like Tyrrell did during his time in the US, but he did admit that taking on the challenge of pigskin was better than trying his hand at basketball or even mixed martial arts.

“When I was younger I was decent at basketball but I’d embarrass myself if I went over trying to shoot a basketball with some NBA stars. This is something I think is really cool and I’m really looking forward to getting over there.

“(As for MMA) I wouldn’t like my face to be absolutely destroyed. I watched the warm-up fight to Conor McGregor at UFC 189, Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman, and (Rockhold) was destroying some lads face for 30 seconds and the referee just stood there and looked at blood pouring everywhere

“I don’t think I want to do that.”

AFC Championship Football Gronk catches a pass against the Denver Broncos. Source: Charlie Riedel/AP/Press Association Images

O’Shea is unsure as to what position he might play when he gets to the US, but the role tight end might suit given his size and shape.

And who knows, maybe one of the NFL’s best players in that position — Rob Gronkowski — could be just the weapon Mayo need to secure a first Sam Maguire in 65 years.

“I’m not sure really. I’ve looked at some of the weights and some things like that. Tight end is one possibly as you’ve the likes of Rob Gronkowski with the New England Patriots and Greg Olsen with the Carolina Panthers. That’d be nice.

“Gronk? He’s not bad is he, he can catch the ball. He’s an absolute animal and wrecking ball and he could do a job I’m sure if we put him in.”

But does the 25-year-old see Mayo taking any inspiration from another NFL star, Peyton Manning, who maybe doesn’t have as many Super Bowl rings as he should have?

“Who knows? Yeah we’ll see, he’s been at a few, we’ve only been to two the last couple of years but we’ll get back there and if we do we’ll try and get the job done for sure.”

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Steve O'Rourke

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