Denmark’s Aarhus Tigers Sign DE Jarrell McKinney From Western Michigan

The Aarhus Tigers in Denmark have signed defensive end Jarrell McKinney for the 2017 season.

The 24-year-old McKinney (6’4″, 250 lb) starred at Western Michigan (NCAA Div. I) where he finished his four year career with 125 tackles and 5.5 sacks. He went to training camp with the Houston Texans in 2016.

Jarrell spoke with the Tigers about playing in Denmark and his work with young people.

After earning his degree in Sports Management, McKinney has begun working with young people:

 “My job right now is working at something like a juvenile home or a group home. Basically I am just helping kids mentally getting through their program, so it is more like a mental program than anything really.

I help leading the kids during basketball practice, and they wanted me to be a football coach there, because of my leadership abilities and my ability to control the group. I like the job a lot, but the kids come from a lot of different stuff though. Some of the kids do a lot of crazy things. “

denmark-aarhus-tigers-jarrell-mckinney-2McKinney describes himself as a laid-back person, but also a leader, but also a serious football player.

“I think I am a pretty cool guy, somebody that anyone can come and talk to. On the field I am just an athlete. I can play multiple positions and did play two in college as both an outside linebacker and a defensive end. In feel that I am able to cover, pass rush and fill the gaps.”

He also said that he was happy when he was approached by the Tigers:

“It was cool. I know it’s going to be a good experience to be able to play football in place like that. It’s kind of crazy y’know. I thought it’d be a good thing to do, especially since I still want to play football. “

He admits though that he does not know much about Denmark or American football on this side of the Atlantic.

“All I know right now is that it is one of the happiest places to live in the World” he says with a small laugh and continues: “I feel good about moving there, I mean I am definitely nervous and I am excited too. I have been around the country, but I haven’t really been everywhere in our country. So now going to a whole other country is, kind of nerve racking. That is just how it is, and that was how it was going to college too .”

The bar is set high

When asked about his knowledge of the sport in Denmark and Europe, McKinney said that the only thing he currently knows about is that the rules are the same, but that this does not discourage him not from having high expectations:

“My goal is to win a championship and help out as many people I can along the way. “

He looks forward to getting started and meeting his new teammates.

“They seem like they are really cool and down to earth when I talked to them. Everybody was cool, making jokes and stuff like that. Nobody was really uptight. “

Tigers head coach Thomas Pedersen explained the reasons for signing McKinney:

“The fact that he has played Div. 1, and with an exciting program like Western Michigan is really interesting. He matches up well against some top 25 teams, and it was kind of fun to see how well he played against a couple of number 1 round draft picks when we scouted him. He possesses an exciting skill set with both speed and strength, and it gives us some options. In college he played both DL and LB, and he has only been praised by all the references we have in him.”

Interview by Jon Haugaard Meineche

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