An interview with Patrick Donahue – Euro-player with the Green Bay Packers

The Romanian American football website firstdown.ro, recently carried an interview done by Mike McGregor with Patrick Donahue, who is currently in mini-camp with the Green Bay Packers. We present the article translated from Romanian.

In February, Anthony Dable, a French receiver playing in the German Football League (GFL) was signed by the New York Giants.

During the 2016 NFL Draft, history was recorded – another player from the German Football League, Moritz Böhringer from the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, became the first ever international player to land from a European team straight into the NFL, as he was drafted in the 6th round by the Minnesota Vikings.

Shortly after, another pleasant surprise for American football players and supporters in Europe: Patrick C. Donahue, receiver for the same team as Moritz, was invited to rookie mini-camp by the Green Bay Packers.

Donahue has made a name for himself in the GFL during the past few years where he has played for several teams as running back, receiver, defensive back and safety or where he has sometimes assumed the role of a coach for his European teammates. Before starting his career in the Old World, Patrick played college football and has managed to maximize his European experience as. After a great season with the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, he managed to catch the eye of NFL scouts. Being able to play both slot and outside receiver and comparing himself with Percy Harvin in terms of game-style and speed, Donahue could well become an offensive weapon for the Packers and also a great returner.

Below you can read the interview that Patrick has so graciously agreed to give before entering rookie mini-camp with the Green Bay Packers.

firstdown.ro: Hello Patrick. Hard work has paid off for you, congratulations on your latest success. First of all please tell us a little bit about your career in Europe and how you would describe your experience with the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns.

Donahue: Thank you, it’s very much appreciated! I was lucky enough to start my career off in a great city filled with amazing people and that was with the Lübeck Cougars in the Germany second division.

My experience there was much different and demanded more than I had expected… I played both sides of the ball, and played nearly every special team the whole game a majority of the time. It gives you a new found respect for the game when you have to push your body pasts its previous limits game in and game out. My experience with the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns was different than in Lübeck because of the fact that I was able to be more of a player and receive coaching from a designated coach rather than splitting time with one coach coaching 2 or 3 different positions. It’s not a negative thing it’s just kudos to the lower league teams that have to do with what they have. During my first year in Hall, I was blessed to have great return schemes and teammates and in turn did really well in the return game.

Germany - Schwabisch Hall - Donahue - Packers.4

firstdown.ro: Please describe briefly how you got the invite from the GB Packers, what are your first impressions, how did your team-mates react etc? What awaits you in the coming weeks, what do you expect going into the camp?

Donahue: How I got the invite, well a really awesome guy that is the owner of NFL Draft Diamonds saw my film and noticed my hard work and could tell my skill set was that of an NFL player. Without him and his website, my chances of getting seen by NFL teams would’ve been slim to none. One minute I’m laying in my bed and the next I hear the Packers are interested. Then nothing for two weeks, and then I hear they would like to invite me for a workout, another week goes by and then I get the invite to minicamp. My team and coaches were obviously happy for me but also saddened by the fact they were losing another player so close to the start of the new season. For the next couple of days I will be proving to the coaches (of the Green Bay Packers) that I can be a serious contributor to the team, on and off the field.

firstdown.ro: Do you believe this could be the beginning of a trend regarding more consistent scouting and recruiting of football players from Europe?

Donahue: I believe that there has been an NFL Europe for a reason… because there are players around the world that can play the game of football at a very high level. I believe that the guys who got invited this year are only the beginning!

firstdown.ro: Are you in touch with the other players from GFL that got signed or drafted, especially D’Anthony Dablé and Moritz Böhringer? Did you guys speak during these amazing days? I know it’s too soon but could you imagine yourself and maybe the other guys we have mentioned becoming very important ambassadors in bridging the gap between football in Europe and in the USA? Would you return to Europe to either play again or coach?

Donahue: I’ve only been in touch with Moritz, Tyler Davis (receiver from the GFL who signed a reserve / future contract with the Miami Dolphins in January 2016 but got released later in April) and Donald Russell (running back who played during the 2015-2016 season for the Dresden Monarchs in the GFL and who got signed by the New York Giants after the 2016 Draft), we’ve been supporting one another.

We’ve been ambassadors of the game since we traveled over seas to show our love and respect for the game of football. And I make sure my passion for the sport is felt in every aspect, whether it’s throwing the ball with the kids after the game or mingling with the fans after the game.

And I can’t say which or if I would yet but I will say this, I have forever family both in the north and south of Germany and I will be visiting them, they know who they are.

I wish you the best of luck with developing football in Romania and I hope to soon hear good news about players from Romania playing at the highest level. Wish me luck, I have a dense play-book to study but I am glad I got to answer your questions before entering the mini-camp. See you soon!

firstdown.ro: Thank you Patrick, best of luck and we hope to see you take the field this season!

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