The ambition of every player and coach who has been part of football in the UK is to join an NFL franchise. Sean Peyton who coached the New Orleans Saints to Super Bowl XLIV is the most notable player to participate in the UK before progressing to the NFL.
As Peyton is an American we can’t really say that we exported him to the NFL, but we can now enjoy the progress of Aden Durde, aged 37, who has become part of the Atlanta Falcons’ coaching staff as defensive quality control.
He will be joining fellow Brit, tight end Alex Gray, in Atlanta a player who Durde guided across the Atlantic as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway program. Durde finds himself the first product of domestic American football in the UK to achieve a full-time position on an NFL team coaching staff.
Durde has a long history in football, playing linebacker in NFL Europe for six years with the Scottish Claymores and the Hamburg Sea Devils before serving as the defensive coordinator of the London Warriors for six seasons during which time they were the UK’s most successful team.
Joining the Falcons will not be the first time Durde has worked on the coaching staff of an NFL team. In the summer of 2014, he was with the Dallas Cowboys as a defensive assistant. At the time, Durde acknowledged his plan was to be a coach one day in the NFL suggesting, “The more experience I can get, the more opportunities that will create and I can grow as a coach.”
That dream has now come true and Durde is obviously very excited to be a pioneer in the evolution of the game in the UK admitting, “I can’t wait to get started working with head coach Dan Quinn and his staff. It has been an incredible journey for me and I hope my appointment serves as an example to players and coaches in the UK of what is possible for them.”
Picture courtesy David Shopland.