Do you know where your punter is? In the case of 31 NFL teams this week, he’ll be at practice. The 4-1 New York Football Giants aren’t conducting drills from the same continent where starting punter Jamie Gillan is. After the Giants defeated the Packers three days ago in London, Gillan — nicknamed “the Scottish Hammer” as he’s from Arbroath, Scotland — is stuck in England, dealing with a passport issue.
The Giants haven’t worked out any contingency punters and believe Gillan will make it back stateside by the time the Giants play the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
The Scottish punter came to the United States as a teenager and only started playing football in his senior year of high school in Maryland — an incredibly late start by any football standard. NFL Network reported Gillan came to America on a NATO visa with his father and it was never changed to a work visa when he started playing professionally.
Most Division I athletes commit to schools before Gillan started punting. He went to college at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, an FCS-level HBCU, with his long hair that makes him look like Thor protruding through his Golden Lions’ helmet. According to a 2019 Yahoo! story, he popped three footballs in training camp because he kicked them too hard. Gillan spent three seasons with the Cleveland Browns after going undrafted in 2019, and debuted with the Giants this season. He’s averaging 51 yards per punt this season, forth-best in the league.
Gillan is closer to home being stuck in the United Kingdom and could’ve gotten some practice in with Tottenham, the English Premier League team that lended their stadium to the NFL for games over the last two weeks.
Should Gillan not make it back from Europe in time, New York’s place kicker, Graham Gano, would likely take all kicking responsibilities as the Giants don’t have another punter on their roster or practice squad. Each of New York’s games have been decided by eight points or less this season. Having a seasoned punter and rested kicker would be great for the franchise’s special teams’ efforts. Now if they can only get him across the Atlantic.
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