Former Penn State 1,000-yard rusher Silas Redd is once again making waves for a change of course — this time moving around the world to challenge for a spot in pro rugby.
Redd has signed on with Queensland Cup club Ipswich Jets, essentially a minor league team for the Brisbane Broncos of Australia’s premiere competition — National Rugby League.
NRL is a different variation of the sport called rugby league, compared to rugby union, which is the most common version of the game in the United States. Redd is attempting to become the first American since the 1970s to reach the highest level of rugby league in Australia.
He paid his way over to Hawaii for a trial run with the team and will report to preseason camp later in November.
“If we can coach him and teach him what we know then there’s no reason he can’t play NRL,” said Ben Walker, the Ispwich Jets coach who also told NRL.com that Redd is a “next level of athlete compared to what we’ve had come out from America before.”
The Nittany Lion turned USC Trojan was in the NFL from 2014 to 2016 with the Washington Redskins, but his three seasons were marred by injury and suspension. The undrafted pickup played a handful of games, all of which came during his rookie season.
Redd returned from his substance abuse suspension late in 2016 only to be released by the Redskins. With no great prospects for a return to pro football, he is putting his best foot forward with this move.
“I would love to be a trailblazer for American athletes. I have a total commitment to this,” Redd said to Brisbane’s Courier Mail. “I am treating this seriously. I really hope this whole process works out for me and maybe one day I can convince some other former NFL players to try playing rugby league.”