British coach Aden Durde admits he is pinching himself every day as he lives his very own NFL dream by helping the Dallas Cowboys prepare for the upcoming 2014 NFL season.
The London Warriors defensive coordinator is spending all of training camp and the preseason as a coaching intern with the NFC East club, working specifically on the defensive side of the ball with the defensive backs.
In an exclusive interview with me for Sky Sports and the Wembley gameday magazine, Durde said:
“I look around and pinch myself – it’s the Dallas Cowboys. It’s insane! It’s an amazing experience. “I’ve just been taking it all in and learning on the run. I’m learning massively every single day. I’m learning something new in every practice, in every meeting. It’s not just learning about the playbook – I’m seeing different people coaching and learning about their styles, their philosophy and the way they handle themselves as coaches.”
The 34-year-old played linebacker for six seasons in NFL Europe for the Scottish Claymores and Hamburg Sea Devils and boasts three years of NFL experience, serving on the practice squads of the Carolina Panthers (2007) and Kansas City Chiefs (2008-2009).
Durde – who played one year of football at North Iowa Area Community College – has spent the past six years coaching the Warriors and has produced the top-ranked defense in British American football in each season as the club’s defensive coordinator. The Warriors are the reigning British national champions.
Durde has grabbed his NFL chance with both hands and feels others in the United Kingdom should do the same, stressing:
“There are great coaches all over the world. If this is something coaches in the UK want to do – and they should because coaching is coaching and it’s about engaging with people and imparting knowledge on people – they should go for it. They should really learn the game and absorb themselves in it.”
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has been impressed with his new British coach, concluding:
“I got to know Aden this spring when he came out to our facility. I know he’s a significant figure in London with American football and we thought he was a great fit for our team. This is becoming an international game. We’re learning from him and he’s learning from us. He’s a great guy. He’s getting more and more comfortable out there on the practice field.”
You can see Aden’s interview in full on Sky Sports and nfluk.com and also read about his experiences with the Dallas Cowboys in the Wembley gameday magazines sold later this autumn.