Worcester Warriors lock Christian Scotland-Williamson has turned his back on rugby union to try build a career in American football after the Premiership club agreed to release him from his contract, launching the first step towards playing in next year’s National Football League.
The Independent revealed in March this year that NFL scouts had travelled to Europe to watch rugby’s leading stars across both union and league, and Worcester second-row Scotland-Williamson is the latest recruit to have been lured across the Atlantic largely due to the riches on offer.
“I’d like to thank everyone at Sixways for all the support over the years,” Scotland-Williamson said in a statement on Thursday that was released by Worcester, who have signed Namibia lock Anton Bresler from Edinburgh as his replacement.
“I appreciate everything they have done for me – giving me the opportunity to play professional rugby, playing against some of the top players in the world, and also helping me recover from injuries in what was a tough time for me.
“Worcester is a great club where I have made many lifelong friends and I have no doubt they will continue to move forward and compete with the top sides in the league and Europe in years to come.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and one that I simply can’t turn down. I’m incredibly excited about testing myself and trying to get on the team roster at an NFL club.”
Scotland-Williamson’s tackling ability has helped gain him notice in the NFL (Getty)
Scotland-Williamson, who has made just 23 appearances since joining Worcester in 2014 due to a string of disruptive injuries, hit the headlines at the start of this season when a thumping tackle on Wasps back-row Alex Rieder went viral on social media. That tackle quickly started a chain of events – or rather conversations – that led to Scotland-Williamson’s name being batted about the NFL scene and ultimately leading to an intense coaching…