Exclusive: Aden Durde, reveals all on Idris Elba and being the first Brit to coach full-time in NFL

In a storied career, Aden Durde has made history as the first British coach to work full-time in the NFL. And he’s using his platform to give back to the community.

Born in London, the gifted athlete gravitated towards American Football, eventually making it as a player with the London Olympians. And it didn’t take long for the experts to take note. The Linebacker was scouted for NFL Europe, before making it to the practice squad with The Kansas City Chiefs and The Carolina Panthers.

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After retiring from the game he held so dear to his heart, he decided to continue his journey through coaching. He captured attention through his achievements with The Atlanta Falcons, before becoming the defensive line coach for the Dallas Cowboys.

Renowned for his no-nonsense style and tactical insight, the Englander has become an incredibly well-respected figure in the league.

Through his growing popularity, he received the opportunity to star in Amazon’s NFL series ‘Hard Knocks‘ during the 2021 offseason, which showcased the wonderful relationship he shares with the players.

In a testament to his humble nature, despite his success, he’s continued to work on a plethora of different schemes, including My Cause My Cleats.

NFL coach, Aden Durde teams up with Idris Elba

The 43-year-old joined forces with Idris Elba’s not-for-profit clothing brand ‘Don’t Stab Your Future’. They collaborated to produce a beautiful set of Nike Air Force Ones

They then auctioned the boots to raise money for Durde’s chosen cause BIGKID. The community charity aims to eradicate social exclusion and youth violence in London. Having been brought up in the capital, in a community directly affected by knife crime, he’s determined to help in any way he can.

Speaking exclusively to Sporf, he said: “It was a really cool experience, I would say. Just to hear his passion on the same issue that I’m pretty passionate about. My Cause My Cleats, I take that pretty seriously. I want to represent something that represents where I’m from. We had the Godwin Lawson Foundation then this, which gives me an opportunity to showcase someone on the platform I’m on and gives them an opportunity to be seen. I went to Big Kid the other night, and they’re doing a great job.

“I think it’s important to give people opportunities when they don’t think they have opportunities. So to put you around people who aren’t negative, they’re actually positive, in a high-energy environment, that’s something you might not have at home or you might not have at school; to be around that, it shows people there are different ways to achieve things in life.

“A lot of times, we do things, in mainstream work or school, everything is structured, everyone is doing the same thing; some people don’t fit into that. So they get pushed out or feel alone. But if they go to Big Kid, they can meet people who are like them or do something they enjoy doing, it can change everything. It changed it for me. So that’s what I’m passionate about.”

NFL Coach, Aden Durde, talks candidly to SPORF

With the sport growing at a rapid rate in the UK, The NFL is trying to encourage youth involvement through a number of different charity pathways.

In London alone, they’re working in 13 boroughs, introducing Flag Football to over 2500 young people. Moreover, 58% of the participants are female, and 75% come from a diverse ethnic background, thus helping underrepresented young people have equal access to opportunities. 

This gives the youngsters a chance to develop their skills in a safe environment and even explore a potential career.

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Durde said: “What’s cool about the NFL is that big companies have a responsibility to do things like this. They have to. If they play all these games and you’re on TV, they’re fulfilling their role by doing this. It’s important to do these things.

“If they didn’t fund these initiatives, they might not have found Efe Obada, and look at what he’s done for the sport. I can think of a number of kids that you wouldn’t even know, that are coaching now. I’ve seen some of the young kids down that I know, that are now men, and they’re coaching at Big Kid. That came from people working, volunteering, loving the sport, and those things are super important. They don’t get spoken about as much as Efe because he’s playing in the league. But those things are the reason that I am here.

“If there wasn’t a guy called Jeff, who took me to practice or Tony who coached me, if there weren’t all those people along the way, I wouldn’t have got these opportunities, my whole life would’ve changed.

“It’s not necessarily that is has to be this way for everyone. But everyone can remember something they were a part of when they were young that affected their life in a positive way. That’s why I think it’s important.”

Read: Afia Law talks New York Jets and Chicago Bears, NFL Girls Flag league (sporf.com)

Featured Image Credit: NFL