Contributed by: Troy Thompson
Saverio Rocca, who finished his AFL career last year with North Melbourne with the aim of playing NFL football has been offered a non guaranteed contract by the Philadelphia Eagles. He earlier tried out with the Buffalo Bills, but now will compete with the Eagles' current Punter in the preseason for the punting spot.
Rocca would be following Ben Graham's footsteps after the former Geelong captain moved under similar conditions to the New York Jets and successfully won the punting spot and going onto a long term contract after his first successful year in the NFL in 2005.
Rocca has apparently not yet signed the contract with the Eagles, who are waiting for the signing before announcing it. Big Sav appeared on Channel Nine in Australia last week where he revealed the offer and his plans. A number of US media outlets have followed up the news by confirming the offer with “An Eagles spokesman” including Philadelphia Daily News, Trenton Times, Comcast SportsNet and phillySports.com. One report gave Rocca’s former club as the North Melbourne Shinboners and another, a rare mention in the US press to the North Ballarat Roosters.
Graham’s transition to the American form of football has increased interest in Australia in the NFL, and retrospectively in the US for Australian Rules. Another AFL star heading to the NFL will undoubtedly expose even more Americans to our game out of curiosity if nothing else. Hopefully more snippets of Australian Rules Football will be featured on NFL broadcasts. While the AFL won’t be concerned with retiring talent such as Rocca moving to the American game, it will no doubt continue to keep its ear to the ground for any developments that might attract our younger talent.
Let's hope Rocca can offer some support to the local USAFL team the Philadelphia Hawks in the same way Graham has been involved with the New York Magpies.
World Footy News