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Christian Wilkins inspired by the growth of American football in Europe

Christian Wilkins at the American football clinic in Leiden
Christian Wilkins at the American football clinic in LeidenPaul Winters
Las Vegas Raiders DT Christian Wilkins (28) has already played an NFL game in Europe twice and sees the sport growing fast on the other side of the Atlantic.

Wilkins was in Leiden, Netherlands with Justin Fields last Wednesday to hold an American football clinic. They did so on the grounds of Lighting Leiden, the local American football team. It was the first of five clinics Wilkins and Fields will attend in Europe.

"I love it immensely every time I get to come here," Wilkins told Flashscore. "When I was a kid, a little chubby kid playing the sport I loved and watching other players play it on TV, I had no idea it would take me as far as it has. Not just playing in the NFL, but playing at the highest level in another country."

Wilkins had travelled to Europe twice before for NFL commitments: once in London to play with the Dolphins against the Jaguars and once in Frankfurt, where he had to play against Patrick Mahomes' Chiefs last season. These games saw a total of over 110,000 spectators.

"To have a perspective now, to see the growth of the game, to see what it means not only for me, but also for others watching us around the world... it's inspiring and that's a little extra motivation, a little perspective of the impact I can have just by doing my job."

Great opportunity in Las Vegas

Wilkins signed a hefty contract with the Las Vegas Raiders worth $110 million dollars last week. After five years with the Dolphins, he thereby pulled the door shut behind him in Miami, but the defensive tackle is looking forward to playing with the Raiders and the chance to play with superstar Maxx Crosby.

Antonio Pierce and Maxx Crosby
Antonio Pierce and Maxx CrosbyProfimedia

"I think it will be great, we have the opportunity to do good things and every year I keep looking for ways to develop my game, to evolve as a player, to evolve as a person and to inspire those around me."

Wilkins is also very fond of playing under HC Antonio Pierce: "He's a great guy and so far a great coach as well. He is a former player, so you have to love that too. I'm looking forward to learning from him, being around him and being inspired by him."

"He does and has a lot of things I love and appreciate. The energy, that fire and that passion for the game, all those things you look for and want in a coach."

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