Canadian QB Nathan Rourke looks to former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo for inspiration

Canadian quarterback Nathan Rourke has looked to former Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo for inspiration.

Romo went unselected in the 2003 NFL Draft coming out of Eastern Illinois University and made the Dallas Cowboys roster as an undrafted free agent. He spent three years developing without playing in any regular season games and went on to star in the “Big D”, being named to the Pro Bowl four times while recording a 78-49 win-loss record.

“He was an undrafted guy, it really came down to the Broncos and the Cowboys for him and the Broncos were actually offering more money. But he knew that he had a better chance of making the team with Dallas.” Rourke said on the 3DownNation podcast.

“That’d be something that I could see myself doing as well because I really just want to make a team and be able to put myself in a position to play.”

Rourke had a more productive NCAA career than Romo and versatile New Orleans Saints offensive weapon Taysom Hill. Over three seasons at Ohio University, Rourke produced 7,313 passing yards, 60 touchdowns compared to 20 interceptions and 2,552 rushing yards with 48 touchdowns plus three receptions for 20 yards and two touchdowns — Bobcats program-record 110 total touchdowns.

“I’ve heard from some teams that asked if I was willing to do some things like a Taysom Hill. I definitely think that’s a compliment more than anything to my athletic ability,” Rourke said.

“I love playing quarterback but it’s all about what can I do for a team and how can I fit in with them.”

When Rourke was in Pasadena, California he was being pulled in different directions for interviews with NFL teams at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. Inside the Intercontinental Hotel, Rourke came out of meetings in the auditorium with a name tag on without knowing who he was going talk with next.

“They’d pull you to the side for 15 minutes and then another person would take you. Some of them would text you and setup an interview that way. But a lot of them were just picking you off in the middle of the hallway,” Rourke said.

NFL teams wanted to find out if Rourke was single, dating, married or had kids — his living situation in the event a team drafted him. Character, attitude and personality tests followed with tough questions mixed in. Rourke was asked, ‘If we ever cut you what would be the reason?’

“They try to see how your mind works and how you think on the fly and try to get you to say something you probably shouldn’t. There’s a good way of answering it and I’m confident that I answered that pretty well,” Rourke, who met with 15-20 NFL teams, said.

Many of those personnel men had planned to attend Rourke’s pro day and continue learning more about him, but the face time at the NFLPA Bowl became extremely important when it was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 21-year-old adjusted and produced a virtual pro day with former NFL scout Blake Beddingfield, who worked 19 years for the Tennessee Titans, in attendance live.

“The kid is a gamer and made a lot of plays at Ohio,” one NFL scout said. “He has the resume, work ethic and focus to warrant a shot.”

Following the video being circulated around North America, Rourke has had phone calls and Zoom meetings with NFL teams. Rourke’s approached the meetings as if he’s the one doing the interviewing, taking notes and asking questions in order to understand each franchise as best as possible.

“Every single interview that I do is important to me, I want to understand what kind of situation it would be if I were to end up there. It’s just as much for me to be able to understand what kind of situation I’m getting into, what kind of quarterbacks are on the roster — showing teams that I’m prepared,” Rourke said.

“If this is how important I take this interview, imagine how important I will take things when I’m in your facilities and in your program. That’s really the message I want teams to get from me.”

Rourke has received positive feedback from NFL teams and is focused on Day 3 of the NFL Draft. There are pros and cons to be selected late and it might actually be more beneficial for Rourke to select from multiple offers when the fast-paced udrafted free agent hits.

“We’re going to exhaust all options with the NFL,” Rourke said. “You want to play with the best of the best and that’s the NFL.”

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