Denmark’s Frederik Nielsen unphased as CFL draft of European players looms

With the CFL Draft of European players set for April 11, Denmark’s Frederik Myrup Nielsen is taking everything in stride. In fact, if ever there was a player who embodied the definition of “down to earth” it might well be Nielsen.

The 28 year old, 5’11”, 185 lb Nielsen, a native of Aalborg, Denmark, was one of 18 European, “Global” players who attended the Canadian Football League’s 2019 Combine in late March, turning it into a historic, worldwide-viewed event. The atmosphere was electric for the non-North Americans and on a scale they had never experienced before.

“It;s easy to get over excited for an event like this. It was so big and professional. But you just need to be consistent. I mean going there to a CFL combine definitely gives you that added juice but you can’t let the results get to you.”

Nielsen, who is a childhood leukemia survivor which does put things into perspective, definitely has a level headed approach to the event that he had at most a couple of weeks to get ready for. This will no doubt stand him in good stead as he prepares for the German Football League season with the Potsdam Royals.

“I honestly did not know what my test scores would be. I knew I was slow and did not lift as much as I thought I could, but I can only be disappointed, not devastated by it.”

The test results for most of the European skill players were judged to be slightly below what their Canadian counterparts achieved. But given the situation, and having never run a 40 yard dash, Nielsen’s 4.89 was not that bad. He was actually more disappointed that he was only given one rep in the one on ones.

“I had beaten my guy, but I know there were a lot of receivers. Still I would have liked a couple of more chances.”

Prior to the combine, he had done his homework on the CFL and all the teams. He knew about the rule differences and had already been following players who went to the CFL.

“We are not that far off but we need to be able to compete with good players. This goes for Denmark and other countries. The level of play needs to constantly be raised.”

Nielsen racing for a touchdown versus the Hamburg Huskies Photo Gerhard Pohl.

The easy-going Dane has progressed from being one of the best receivers in his own country to a top flight receiver in Europe. With Potsdam over the past two seasons in the GFL and GFL2, he has had 124 receptions for 2,569 yards and 33 touchdowns. Add to that another 300+ yards and four touchdowns in European Football League play and the numbers are even more impressive.

He admitted though, that this experience definitely gives you motivation going forward.

“When you are in a tough workout and thinking about quitting early, this kind of experience and opportunity just gives you that extra motivation to keep going, to push harder, go for the extra reps. We just need to work even harder.”

With the draft of the European players coming up,on April 11, Nielsen is not too particular about which team he prefers. And he is prepared to report to a CFL training camp, although he will be in the midst of his season with Potsdam in the German Football League.

“I would like to be drafted by a team that wants me and that’s happy to have me there. That gives me the best opportunity to succeed and in the end that gives me the best chance to help a team. A good team fit is all you can hope for in these situations. I mean if I get drafted of course that means I get the opportunity to make a CFL roster. I’m pretty sure that opportunity won’t come around again for me, so of course I would want to pursue it.”

Roger Kelly
Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.
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