Why He’s Interesting: If the Scottish Hammer wasn’t slamming punts for the Cleveland Browns, the Inverness-native would be knocking heads on a professional rugby pitch. The undrafted lefty with hair like a Braveheart extra displayed his leg strength by popping three footballs during a pre-draft workout. He proved he wasn’t a fluke when he earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September.
Going Viral: When University of Arkansas at Pine-Bluff posted on Facebook that its kicker had decommitted, close friend Trent Hall sent the school’s recruiting staff Gillan’s highlight video. “I got a call that night offering me a full-ride scholarship. I had already accepted a scholarship to a school in Maryland, but luckily they hadn’t looked over my papers yet, so I was still a free agent.”
Sippin’ Suds: Scots may be known for Scotch whisky, but Gillan has embraced Cleveland’s craft beer culture at favorite Tremont pubs the Flying Monkey Pub and the Treehouse. “Fat Head’s Brewery comes out with some real, real tasty beers. Platform is really good, too.”
Bar Fly: You never want a call from the boss when you’re drinking at the bar, but Gillan got a good one while drinking at the Flying Monkey with his father Colin. It was from general manager John Dorsey, who told him he beat out veteran punter Britton Colquitt for the starting job. He tried to buy the bar a round, but Browns fans beat him to it. “We had an incredible night hanging out with a bunch of locals.”
Second Career: While his professional rugby career has taken a backseat to his NFL dreams, Gillan plans to pick up the sport after football. In fact, his father still plays in Maryland at 48 years old. “Having to stand back and watch everybody run around and hit people and have fun kind of makes me miss rugby a lot. I’m still staying fit and training hard and running for when I go back to rugby.”
Drop Kick: While the mechanics may be similar, punting the football is much different than kicking a rugby ball. “The way I punt the ball in rugby is quite a bit different because the ball is a lot more rounded so you can kick the tip of it without it hurting your foot, and you’re normally kicking on the run in rugby. Now I’m able to stand back there and let it come to me and work on my technique.”
Gillan confesses he’s an adrenaline junkie. He likes cliff diving in addition to rugby and motorbiking.