ZACK Follett says leaving the NFL and coming to teach kids American Football in Bucks was his destiny.

The former Detroit Lion has been in Marlow for the past three weeks, splitting his time between schools, clubs and national media work, after receiving an off-the-cuff tweet from Wolves coach Sam McKee.

Follet, who had to give up his NFL career because of a neck injury, said: “I’ve been a football player my whole life, but I’m a Christian and look to god for my guidance.

“I was in the Dominican Republic with my girlfriend [after the injury] and some friends of mine said, ‘you should definitely look into a mission trip, it would change your life.’ “Two days later I got a tweet from Sam saying, ‘come preach in England’.

“I saw that as destiny and without even hesitating I sent him back an email saying, ‘name the time and place and I’m there’.

“Sam mapped out the whole month’s schedule. I spent the first week in Great Marlow, have been in Sir William Borlase’s this week and now I’m going to High Crest.

“During the day I’m teaching American Football and speaking at assemblies, and at night I’m going to churches and youth groups and sharing my testimony.

“It’s awesome seeing these kids show a love for the game that’s not glorified like it is in America.

“They’re stepping out, getting into something new and it’s fun to be a part of that.

“I’ve never been in a coaching position before and coming out here and speaking and seeing the impact has been a blessing.”

A windswept field in Bucks is a far cry from the razzmatazz of the NFL though.

Follet said: “Everything happens for a reason and now I’m here.

“Playing for the last 15 years left my body beat up and I’m happy to be out of the game and to let my body rest and heal.

“I have no regrets. I reached my dream. When I was a kid football was my life, it was my idol.

“I remember in college putting on my pads in front of the mirror and I’m all suited up and the jerseys are skintight and you almost feel like superman.

“That’s the attitude you’ve got to have, but I’ve realised there is more to life than football and I’m happy to be able to understand that. Some guys don’t have that freedom, they’re a slave to the game.

“I don’t have to do that. I can come here and enjoy life and travel the world.”

Follett also says coming back is on the agenda.

He said: “This has been a lifechanging experience and I’d love to come back.

“I have to have a special neck pillow because my neck is messed up from all my hits, but I’ve already told Sam I’m leaving it at his house so it will save room in my suitcase next time I come over.”

Meanwhile, for the captain of the kitted team, Henry Wallace, Follett’s knowledge has been invaluable.

He said: “He plays the same position as me and has taught me a lot of new things, like footwork and when to tackle hard and when to just make sure you make the hit.”

Wallace admits though, he didn’t believe an NFL star was coming to coach Wolves at first.

He said: “I didn’t quite believe it until I started looking at his tweets. It’s pretty sureal having someone you’ve seen on television and youtube coming to where you live.

“But he’s a really nice guy, he’s really open and will talk to you about anything.”