“First-year punter Daniel Whelan made the Packers' initial 53-man roster after veteran Pat O'Donnell was released Monday,” Packers.com said on Tuesday, August 29.

“If Whelan plays Week 1 against Chicago, he'll be the first Irish-born player to play in the NFL since Neil O'Donoghue's final season with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1985. 

“Born in Dublin, Ireland, Whelan moved to the United States at age 13.

"The 6-foot-5, 214-pound punter made the All-XFL team with the DC Defenders this spring before signing with the Packers in May.

“Whelan averaged 45.7 yards (37.7 net) on six preseason punts, while dropping three inside the 20-yard line.”

After being named to the Packers roster, Whelan shared a picture of him on the gridiron on social media on Tuesday evening with a simple caption: "God's plan."

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A post shared by Daniel Whelan (@dan__whelan)

Whelan was 13 years old when he moved to the US with his mom Anne Marie Doyle. A talented athlete, Whelan played rugby and soccer in Ireland and tennis in the US before trying out American football during his junior year at Rancho Mirage High School in California.

In 2016, when he was still in high school, Whelan went viral for kicking a 72-yard field goal at practice, shattering the current NFL record of 66 yards.

After graduating in the top ten percent of his high school class, Whelan went on to study Sustainable Environmental Design at UC Davis in California. When he graduated, he was ranked number one in the school's history in punting average (44.0) and punts inside the 20 (86).

Ahead of his final football season at UC Davis, Whelan told the Irish Independent: “I’ve lost my accent unfortunately but I can fit in by now, I feel pretty American at this point too.

“When I came to America I was called like ‘Irish boy’ or ‘Danny long legs’, but here at Davis I’m called Waylon, because my name is Whelan I think. I don’t really know where they got that from.”

Whelan admitted that he missed the people in Ireland, "and I miss the chipper!"

"I know people are rooting for me in Ireland, the Wicklow native said at the time. “I’m hoping and praying I get picked in the 2022 Draft. I just gotta do what I do best and then see what happens after that.”

Whelan entered the NFL with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent in May 2022 but was released that July, which he later said was "humbling."

After a stint in the XFL with the DC Defenders, Whelan signed with the Green Bay Packers in May 2023.

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A post shared by Daniel Whelan (@dan__whelan)

Whelan was on hand when the Packers began their training camp in July. Coach Matt LaFleur said of the Irish punter: “Yeah, he’s done a heck of a job since we’ve gotten him. He definitely has a big-time leg. And it’s great.

"You want competition at every position, because it’s going to push us to be better.”

Whelan's mom is, of course, "so proud" of her son for making it to the NFL.

A great first ever @NFL game for punter @dan__whelan with the @packers
Kicking off, punting & holding, so proud. #GoPackGo pic.twitter.com/10uijtKGx2

— Anne Marie Doyle (@AMTWhelan) August 12, 2023

Whelan is poised to become the 11th Irish-born player in the NFL. According to Pro Football Reference, the others are Neil O'Donoghue, John Sinnott, Adrian Young, Tom Graham, Bob Nash, France Fitzgerald, Brian McGrath, Mickey Fallon, Con O'Brien, and Birtie Maher.

On Tuesday night, Michael McQuaid of NFL Ireland shared a supportive message from Dublin native O'Donoghue, the last Irish-born player in the NFL.

“Dan, congrats on your momentous accomplishment on being selected by the Green Bay Packers who are steeped in tradition in the NFL," O'Donoghue said.

“I remember the first time I played at Lambeau FIeld - 15 degrees and snowing. ‘The Ghosts of Lambeau Field.’

“Dan, I will be watching and rooting for you. Remember two things - kick them high and stay warm.

“Wishing you a long and successful career - it’s still only a game!”

I asked the last active Irish born player in the NFL, Neil O'Donoghue for his reaction on GB adding @dan__whelan to the initial fifty three man roster. Here was his response: pic.twitter.com/tOFaGB3Kyc

— Michael McQuaid (@Michael_NFL) August 29, 2023