By Allen Cameron
At first, Tim Hunt was skeptical.
DE Tim Hunt (left) in action for the Calgary Stampeders in CFL
The 25-year-old defensive tackle was at home in Alabama, pondering a return to Arena football after spending the 2008 season indoors, and working part-time at the local Home Depot when he received an odd inquiry through a European sport management company to play for a football team he’d never heard of — the Swarco Raiders Tirol. It’s a team based in Innsbruck, Austria — about as far away as possible from the football mainstream as you could ever imagine.
“This PRO FOOTBALL INTERNATIONAL agent in Europe somehow got my details,” said a smiling Hunt on Friday, moments after a training-camp practice with the Calgary Stampeders. “I didn’t know him at all, but he saw my highlight clip (from his days at the University of North Alabama) on YouTube, he sent me an email and it went from there.”
That innocent query led not only to Hunt’s first trip to Europe — his first flight, in fact — but also a starring role with the Raiders, who went on to claim their second straight European Football League Eurobowl crown last July with a victory over the Paris Flash in front of a record crowd of 6,500.
“I had no idea they play football in Europe,” said Hunt, who’s been one of the standout rookies on the defensive line over the past week. “I knew there was NFL Europe, but they did away with that, and I didn’t know there was still a league there. So when he hit me up, I thought he was playing with me.
skills in Europe with an all-US college coaching staff
Hunt was one of five