Willis McGahee will give rugby a try

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Near the end of the 2013 season, running back Willis McGahee said that he wanted to play four more years in the NFL but the interest hasn’t been reciprocated this season.

McGahee hasn’t played for anyone since wrapping up with the Browns last year, which is a pretty good sign that the 33-year-old has a slim chance of realizing that dream. He may not be finished with a career in professional sports, though.

The National Rugby Football League announced this week that McGahee would be attending their 2015 combine in January as the league prepares for its first season next summer. McGahee confirmed that he’d be taking part on Twitter and also shared some video of the workouts he’s doing to prepare.

We’re not well versed enough in the sport of rugby to handicap McGahee’s chances of succeeding in his attempt to move into a different sport, but certainly wish him the best of luck in his new endeavor.

17 responses to “Willis McGahee will give rugby a try

  1. I’m a Pittsburgh fan and this dude is a classy guy on the field and was a great football player. Horrible luck in the 2002 National Championship game against OSU.

  2. Two totally different sports. There are no play breaks, players gotta wrap up, cant follow blockers… And actually have to think.

    Hockey players and soccer players, yea soccer… make that better converts.

    Still wish him the best, always liked Willis.

  3. I tackled former NFL RB Mike Bell at a rugby tourny in AZ a couple of years back. It hurt. He seemed to get along okay, not great ball skills but a hard running center for sure.

  4. He’ll have to come in with an open mind and learn a whole new set of skills he never needed, but if he works at it his athleticism should carry him through.

    And if he does, he will actually know more about proper tackling techniques that 90% of the defensive players in the NFL.

  5. theravishingrachelnichols says:
    Dec 11, 2014 12:19 PM
    I tackled former NFL RB Mike Bell at a rugby tourny in AZ a couple of years back. It hurt. He seemed to get along okay, not great ball skills but a hard running center for sure.

    When I was in College a hundred years ago, we played Towson State twice a year. In the fall they were terrible, in the spring they were great because all the football players came out. I played in a game where Dave Meggett was the fullback. It was then that I realized the difference in athleticism could overcome familiarity with the laws of rugby. They may have committed 50 penalties a game because they didn’t know the rules, but they were unstoppable in the open field.

    That’s why I have always believed that top level football players always make great rugby prospects.

  6. Funny….I was a scrumhalf for Towson! Most of our football guys lasted a game or 2 before it got too rough for them & they retreated to the safety of their helmets & shoulder pads. Lousy tackling form from those guys.

    We are (Towson U) a nationally ranked rugby program. 4 straight Sweet 16’s…

  7. I have long held that if the USA got our NFL roster cuts at TE, RB and DB and made a rugby team out of them, they’d have to call off the sport, such would be our domination. We don’t need our 1st – tier athletes. Our 4th tier would do.

  8. In rugby, there’s no blocking and you can’t throw the ball forward. So it’ll be a lot like playing for the Browns.

  9. tsuscrumhalf says:
    Dec 11, 2014 3:32 PM
    Funny….I was a scrumhalf for Towson! Most of our football guys lasted a game or 2 before it got too rough for them & they retreated to the safety of their helmets & shoulder pads. Lousy tackling form from those guys.

    •••••••••••••••••
    I’ve played the sport, too, and you’re kidding yourself if you think guys don’t hit harder in the NFL than they do in rugby — at any level. Football is a collision sport; rugby is more about keeping the ball moving than it is about tackling.

    I saw the Eagles (US National Rugby team) play the Irish touring team years ago — they had to cart off three Irish players because of the vicious hits that the Eagles put on them. But Ireland still won 50-3.

  10. I think he will do fine, especially when he has the ball. He has good hands, good speed, and is used to contact. The big things he will have to learn is to properly tackle and pass the ball.

  11. tsuscrumhalf says:
    Dec 11, 2014 3:32 PM
    Funny….I was a scrumhalf for Towson! Most of our football guys lasted a game or 2 before it got too rough for them & they retreated to the safety of their helmets & shoulder pads. Lousy tackling form from those guys.

    We are (Towson U) a nationally ranked rugby program. 4 straight Sweet 16’s…
    ======

    Congratulations. Your program has come a long way. I played for American University in the 80’s, and no one from our division (AU, Towson, Frostburg, Mount St. Mary’s, Georgetown, Catholic) was anywhere near that level.

  12. armchairqb says:

    I’ve played the sport, too, and you’re kidding yourself if you think guys don’t hit harder in the NFL than they do in rugby — at any level. Football is a collision sport; rugby is more about keeping the ball moving than it is about tackling.
    =====

    You’re right and your wrong. The hits are harder in the NFL, but not because rugby is not about tackling. The fact is that the NFL, and football in general, is the sport that is truly not about tackling. It’s about, as you say “collisions”.

    Rugby is ALL about tackling, and to “collisions” because spearing, not wrapping your arms, headhunting, launching, and all of the things that pass for “tackling” in the NFL are illegal in rugby.

  13. The difference in rugby is you have no pads & helmet to use as weapons, so a lot of time it hurts you more than the guy you’re tackling … especially if you spear or lead with your head

    The object is also to draw tacklers to you & then dish off (laterals only). You can’t legally be ‘tackled’ unless you have possession of the ball

    Back when I played at U of Kentucky in the ‘7os none of the football players had enough wind to truly be effective rugby players. Only the ones who knew the game outside of football already were worth half a crap in an actual game

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