The NFL returns today and Scotland’s American football fans will be watching closely as the "Scottish Hammer" prepares for his debut season in the pro’s with the Cleveland Browns.

Jamie Gillan’s rise from Merchiston fly-half to Browns punter has taken the sport by storm but if things had gone a little differently, Gillan might well have been heading to Japan with Gregor Townsend’s squad for the rugby World Cup.

However his promising rugby career was put on hold when, at 16, his dad was posted to a Maryland air base with RAF.

“It was a really big decision that me and my family made. I was doing really well in Merchiston. I got really good results in my GCSEs and had just come off winning the Scottish schools cup for youth 16s. We had a really great team, I didn't want to leave.

“My goal was to play professional rugby and pull on the Scotland jersey one day, but with my parents moving across the Atlantic and the fact my Dad didn't want to be that far away from us, I decided to move out.”

Gillan embraced the change of lifestyle and gave a American football a shot, putting his kicking skills to good use and catching the eye of a number of college scouts, eventually accepting a scholarship to the University of Arkansas Pine-Bluff.

“A lot of people don't realise but playing college sports is ridiculously hard, in terms of your timetable and the amount of sleep you're getting. It’s a hard schedule but it moulds you well if you stick to it and take it and run with it.”

Gillan went undrafted in April but an offer to sign with the Browns as an undrafted free agent proved to be the opportunity of a lifetime and a chance to compete with the team’s veteran punter and super bowl champion, Britton Colquitt.

Impressive displays in the pre-season games, including a couple of big tackles by the 22-year-old, something traditional punters in American football are not known for, secured his place on the roster and sealed the fate of the now former Browns punter, 34-year-old Colquitt.

And Gillan admits the life changing news he had made the team is a day he will never forget.

“It was like D-Day, everyone was finding out if they were cut or put on the practice squad or traded or making the team. I think my dad was more emotional and nervous than I was because I knew what I had done in the past four months. I know what I have done in the pre-season.

“I didn't want to be in my room or hanging out and not really doing much. Me and my dad were like let’s go out and enjoy ourselves and see what happens. So, we did and then I got the phone call from the GM saying that I made the team, so I was extremely happy. It was a huge celebration for a lot of people and my family were really happy.

“We've got a great team going, I've just got to go out there and do my job and whatever happens happens. I take it one snap at a time. I'm not even thinking about the game on Sunday yet until we get there.

“Our targets are probably the same as every team in the NFL and that's just to win games, so that's all we're talking about.”

Watch Jamie Gillan in action as the Cleveland Browns host the Tennessee Titans today on Sky Sports Action at 5pm and Sky Sports Main Event at 6pm. You can also catch-up on the action on Tuesday with the NFL This Week highlights show available on BBC Two and iPlayer.