Germany’s Hamburg Huskies Sign RB/WR Josh Hartigan

The Hamburg Huskies of the German Football League have signed running back/receiver Josh Hartigan for the 2017 season. Hartigan helped Sweden’s Carlstad Crusaders capture their seventh Swedish championship title last year.

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 championship as he gave the Crusaders a versatile weapon with his size and speed. Now entering his fifth season playing in Europe, Hartigan can be considered a veteran of European play.

American Football International took a few moments to chat with Josh about his experiences playing in Europe and his plans for the future.

American Football International: You had a great season in Sweden in 2016 and won a championship with Carlstad. Why the move to Germany and the Huskies?

Josh Hartigan: The Crusaders decided to go a different direction with their organization so I decided to see what other options were out there. I have been wanting to get back to Hamburg since my first season in 2012 with the Hamburg Blue Devils.

AFI: This will be your fifth season playing in Europe. 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 has been your favorite dish or food?

Hartigan: There was a place in Hamburg that I used to go all the time and get fish, shrimp, and potatoes in a cream sauce that was really good. I’m looking forward to going back.

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.

AFI: How is your German?

Hartigan: I’ll definitely have to brush up on my German before going back.

AFI: Do you have any other thoughts on playing in different countries?

Hartigan: When American Football International does the rankings of teams on the site, I always see people comment on “how certain teams are ranked higher than others but those teams don’t even play each other.” I think that all the leagues around Europe within the top 16-20 agree to play a tournament every two years or 4 years, something the World Cup for football. A multi country tournament will be the only way to determine who is the best. Tournaments like Big6 or EFL don’t accurately depict who is the best. If you get accepted and have the money, anybody can play Big6 or EFL. We have to bring all these teams together. Then again, that means big money and big investments. I think it would be worth it in the long run for American Football in Europe.

AFI: Thanks Josh and good luck in 2017.

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