Gillan embracing expectations at Cleveland Browns after impressive rookie year in the NFL
Get the Inverness Courier sent to your inbox every week and swipe through an exact replica of the day's newspaper
Expectations are high for NFL star Jamie Gillan – but the Cleveland Browns punter would have it no other way.
Gillan, originally from Inverness, was picked up by the Browns after going undrafted in 2019.
His journey started with playing rugby in the Highlands, before moving to Merchiston and eventually on to the United States, where he switched to American football with the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
Upon joining the Browns, he was behind Britton Colquitt – a long established name in the sport – so people may not have expected Gillan to feature much, never mind make the jersey his own.
By last August though, the tables had turned.
Gillan was the undisputed choice to play, and Colquitt left Cleveland to sign for the Minnesota Vikings.
Having made such an impact in his rookie year, the “Scottish Hammer” was named in the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie team – the equivalent of an all-star select for players in their first year at the professional level.
Where some may feel pressure to continue to deliver at such a high level though, the 23-year-old relishes the situation.
“Not much has been said about it, but I guess when I go on the field they expect a good punt,” he reasoned.
“Me and the coach don’t talk to each other so much before the game now. We know exactly what the gameplan is, and it’s up to me to achieve it.
“Hopefully I’m always going to have high expectations, because I’m doing my job – if they don’t have high expectations of me, why am I in this position?
“I just take it one game at a time, because it’s going to be a different snap, a different hold and different conditions to last year.
“I can’t compare any games to last year, because it’s so different in so many areas and situations.
“Every week is a new week with new conditions to play in.
“I might not have kicked the highest or the best hang-time that I can, but it might have been in a really good direction, so I need to keep thinking about that.
“I don’t think too much about stats, I just want our defence to be set up well and not have returns against us.”
Watch 14 games live and NFL RedZone during Thanksgiving weekend on NFL Game Pass for just 99p. Offer available from Monday November 23.