Kyle Brady might not have had an opportunity to play overseas in the NFL International Series in London, but the former Jaguars tight end will be a guest of honor at two major football games being played in Dublin, Ireland in August.
Brady will serve as Honorary Chairman for the Global Ireland Football Tournament (GIFT) clash between his former high school, Cedar Cliff High, and Penn Manor at University College Dublin on Friday, August 29. The following day, he will cheer on his alma mater Penn State University as the Nittany Lions take on the University of Central Florida in the Croke Park Classic.
Brady will perform the pregame coin toss between the two Pennsylvania high school teams and will be among the guests of the Gaelic Athletic Association as the NCAA college football teams kick off the 2014 campaign in the Croke Park Classic.
“It is very special on many fronts for me,” said Brady. “Two of my alma maters will be playing over in Ireland, so I’m very much looking forward to seeing them play and am excited for the young guys. It is such a great opportunity for them to experience another culture and a different way of life that comes with that and to meet the people of Ireland.
“Personally, I’m looking forward to experiencing those things myself. With a name like Brady I’m looking forward to visiting my heritage.”
A first round NFL Draft pick by the New York Jets in 1995, Brady said his father settled in the United States and the family still has strong links to the emerald isle.
“I’m a first generation American, and in the last six or seven years I’ve connected with my family in Ireland and plan on reaching out to them to see if they will meet me and visit Mayo and Galway counties, where my ancestors are from.
“It will be my first time in Ireland. I had the opportunity to get to Scotland and England when I was part of NFL Europe broadcasts a few years ago, but my schedule didn’t allow me to get over to Ireland.”
The journey across the Atlantic will also give Brady an opportunity to reconnect with Cedar Cliff High School where he won USA Today All-America and Gatorade Player of the Year.
“I always check in with a few friends back home to see how they’re doing and I know they made the playoffs, but haven’t been as close to it as I would have liked,” he explained. “So this will be a great time to see them and catch up with Cedar Cliff. I’m definitely looking to reconnect. They have a new head coach and there is excitement around the program.”
When it comes to the more traditional Irish sports, Brady will be in uncharted territory. But he is excited to discover Gaelic football and hurling while overseas.
“This is really my first exposure to Croke Park and the GAA and I’m looking forward to getting to meet and know some of the people who have a passion for sports in Ireland,” he added. “It will be great for the visiting players and fans of both teams and for the Irish public to experience some good classy people and games of American football.”