Serbia’s SBB Vukovi Belgrade sign WR/RB Josh Hartigan

The  SBB Vukovi Belgrade, multiple Serbian title holders, have signed running back/receiver Josh Hartigan for the 2018 season.

Hartigan played for the Hamburg Huskies in the German Football League in 2017 and helped Sweden’s Carlstad Crusaders capture their seventh Swedish championship title the year before.

The 6’3″, 225 lb Hartigan from Fort Lauderdale, Florida played his college football at the University of Colorado. He was a key to Carlstad’s drive to the 2016 championship as he gave the Crusaders a versatile weapon with his size and speed.

Now entering his sixth season playing in Europe, Hartigan can be considered a veteran of European play. He originally arrived in Germany in 2012 playing for the Hamburg Blue Devils for two seasons. He moved on to the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes in 2014 before signing with Poland’s Wroclaw Panthers for the 2015 season, helping them reach the Polish final.

AFI: This will be your sixth season playing in Europe. Apart from the Huskies last year, name the places you have played and the differences.

Hartigan: My first year was 2012 with the Hamburg Blue Devils, 2014 with Kiel Baltic Hurricanes, 2015 with Wroclaw Panthers, and 2016 with Carlstad. Each place was special. Football was great in the 3 countries I’ve played in. I think there are too many differences. I think the most common thing that I have seen is that lack of competition across the board for each league. Every season, you have the same three or four teams in the playoffs and the same teams struggling to stay in the top league, whether it be players, money, or lack of wins. I think in order to continue to grow, each country or league has to find a way to get all the teams to a competitive level. It starts with coaching of the national players and then building a roster of imports that teams plan to keep around for more than one season.

AFI: How much longer do you intend on playing in Europe?

Hartigan: I would like to play for as long as teams want me to be apart of their team. I think that I bring a lot to the table. I just think that I have the ability to continue playing but teams are skeptical every year. I can play multiple positions and sometimes a team’s need for an import can be specific.

AFI: What have you enjoyed the most about playing in Europe so far?

Hartigan: I’ve enjoyed the traveling so much. There are a lot of people that save for years for a two week vacation to Europe. I get to go live there for half a year and play football.

AFI: Has the game evolved much since you started playing in Europe?

Hartigan: The game has definitely evolved. In 2012, I believe it would have been unheard of to give a guy from the GFL or Poland to play NFL football. These guys got opportunities because of exposure. The amount of exposure provided has taught more Europeans about the sport and has gotten them interested.

Check out Josh’s highlights from 2017

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