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4 Athletes who played both in the NFL and Rugby Union

NFL is a byproduct of Rugby. Played on a much wider and shorter pitch, rugby is incredibly popular in many countries around the world. The game’s essence is also captured in a plethora of online games, and even the Rugby Star slot, for example. Despite their differences, many players have managed to transition from one to the other. Let’s look at some that have done so successfully.


Nate Ebner

Nate Ebner is a defender in American football, and one of the most prominent players to make a successful switch from the NFL to the Rugby Union. He plays for the US national rugby sevens team; with which he has competed in the Olympics. Ebner used to be a safety and special teamer for two of the NFL’s most well-known teams. From 2012 until 2020 he played with the New England Patriots. During this time, he was also named to the AP All-Pro Second Team in 2016. In 2020, he signed with the New York Giants, and has been playing with them since.

Alex Gray

Alex Gray is among the most popular players to transition from Rugby Union to American football. He began his career playing Rugby Union for the Newcastle Falcons back in 2010. He then made his debut in the NFL in 2017, playing for the Atlanta Falcons till 2019. However, in 2020 he returned to the Rugby Union to play for Bath Rugby but decided to retire from the sport early in the month of September 2021.

Stephen Paea

Stephen Paea’s used to be a rugby union player in the early days of his career. During this early stage, he dreamt of playing for the All Blacks – New Zealand’s national rugby union team. However, destiny took him to the United States, where he soon learned he had a knack for American football. He was drafted to the Chicago Bears in 2011 and has been playing professionally ever since. He ended his career as a pro-player with the Dallas Cowboys.

Paul Lasike

Paul Lasike’s time in the NFL was quite a short one. He first tried to kickstart his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals in 2015. He then moved to the Chicago Bears a few months later and was waived in 2017. He then made a move to Rugby Union, where he played for Harlequins, London Scottish, and the Utah Warriors, where he still currently plays.



As you can see, despite the differences between the two sports, it isn’t impossible for players to make a transition. The aforementioned four players have shown us that with hard work, and a mindset that is open to change, the transition is more than possible!

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