Garratt resurrects football career in Austria |

Garratt resurrects football career in Austria

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

Uncertainty of playing football again followed Nick Garratt’s senior year at South Tahoe High.

But Garratt was able to walk on and make a four-year contribution at USC.

Garratt’s football career appeared to be over again after running out of eligibility at USC in 2009.

Not so fast.

The middle linebacker has extended his football career by agreeing to play with the Salsby Bulls in Austria.

That’s right, there is professional football in the country better known for skiing.

“I think I’m fully at peace with myself. It feels right that I’m playing for the right reasons,” Garratt said. “I feel it’s going to be a lot like high school, where I’m taking on a big leadership role, and how it’s geared toward the way the game should be played. It should be a lot of fun.”

Salsby is counting on Garratt for more than being the centerpiece of its defense. Garratt will also be expected to advance the team’s knowledge of the game, help with team strategy and work with the area’s youth football program.

While he and his teammates will only practice three days a week in season, Garratt will work full-time for Salsby.

After concluding his playing career at USC, Garratt spent some time traveling in Europe. During his European vacation, Garratt met with a former Salsby player now on the club’s management team, and their talks eventually spawned into the idea of Garratt resuming his football career with Salsby. When Garratt returned to the States, he decided to assist with the STHS football team and lead a strength program for the school’s football and basketball players.

“Coaching at Tahoe made me re-evaluate the values that should be instilled in football,” he said. “I feel like I really didn’t understand that at USC. I was confused at USC in certain respects – how I’m supposed to play and the values in the game.

“Being able to have that input with the team that I’m going to play for and live out what I value in football, I feel like I’m playing for the right reasons this time.”

Garratt doesn’t speak any German, and was flabbergasted when the team playbook sent to him was in German.

“Fortunately our defense is the same cover two we ran at SC, so I’m pretty familiar with it,” he said.

Before leaving for Austria at the end of January, USC allowed Garratt to use their campus facilities with Trojans who are preparing for the 2011 NFL Draft.

“They are pretty much treating me like I’m going out for the draft,” Garratt said. “They are envious. None of them have actually heard of this program. The NFL is so competitive, and when you come to SC that is the only vision you are given. You’re not really given any alternatives.”

Garratt will wear the same No. 57 he wore at USC. Fans can follow the team and Garratt’s season blog at

“I’m not really nervous because I know that I’m prepared and I have worked hard,” Garratt said. “I don’t think I’d ever want to play football anymore. This came up, and it seems like it will be a great experience.”

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