Former AFL player Patrick Murtagh breaks down remembering his late father as he chases his American football dream

After his AFL career ended with the Gold Coast delisting last year, Patrick Murtagh turned his attention to the NFL, where he’s hoping for an unlikely code switch.

The 22-year-old is using the tragic death of his father from cancer two years ago as motivation to pursue his American football dream.

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Murtagh told 7NEWS it’s “tough” to be delisted without playing a senior game, but he understands the Suns’ position.

“It’s tough, it’s a business, people come, people go,” Murtagh said.

“Unfortunately, I was one of those who left.”

Murtagh put the disappointment behind and recently became one of only 13 hopefuls to be accepted into the NFL’s international pathway program.

He is now in Florida participating in a 10-week training program ahead of April’s NFL draft that will see at least four of the internationals offered contracts.

Former Gold Coast player Patrick Murtagh and (inset) with his late father. Credit: 7NEWS / Instagram

While former AFL players like Darren Bennett, Ben Graham, Saverio Rocca, and more recently Arryn Siposs have broken into the NFL as players, Murtagh wants to use his athletic versatility as a “tight end.”

The tight end is a hybrid position and plays as a pass catcher and offensive lineman, so he needs speed and size.

At 196cm tall, he’s tipped the scales to tip the scales at an impressive 114kg and has a particular motivation to make it to the NFL.

“We lost my father to cancer two years ago,” Murtagh said, fighting back tears.

“He was my biggest support in everything.

“He never missed a game no matter what division I played in.

“I know he’s watching upstairs and super proud of where I’ve come and what’s to come.”

Murtagh doesn’t have a specific team he wants to play for, he just wants to use his career to support his mother financially.

“Mom is from Papua New Guinea, a third world country,” Murtagh said.

“It would be nice, she worked so hard, I would like to retire her.”

Patrick Murtagh in action during the VFL round 15 game against the Coburg Lions last July. Credit: Getty Images

Murtagh is still in touch with his former Suns teammates, who are his “fill-in quarterbacks” for now.

Suns forward Chris Burgess believes Murtagh has all the skills to succeed in the NFL.

“The NFL is a lot shorter and sharper than the AFL, which is a lot more enduring,” Burgess said.

“He (Murtagh) is a very explosive player so the NFL will definitely suit him well.”

Circumnavigator Jessica Watson opens up about the tragic death of her partner.

Circumnavigator Jessica Watson opens up about the tragic death of her partner.

https://7news.com.au/sport/afl/former-afl-player-patrick-murtagh-breaks-down-remembering-late-father-as-he-chases-american-football-dream-c-9572651 Former AFL player Patrick Murtagh breaks down remembering his late father as he chases his American football dream

James Brien

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