Talks of Reece Walsh pursuing a possible NFL career has ramped up quickly, all by the actions of catching a dart of a pass from legendary American quarterback Tom Brady.
The red-hot NRL fullback was yet just another paying customer – along with a swag of his Broncos teammates – at a Brisbane function featuring the seven-time Super Bowl champion and five-time MVP in a heavily-publicised speaking engagement.
The Murri and Maori man later said he was in attendance to listen and take in advice on how to bounce back from setbacks after starring in the nailbiting 2023 NRL grand final but ultimately stepped off the field suffering team defeat.
But after event host JT Foxx spoke up about Walsh's potential earnings on converting to American football, Brady was willing to test the rookie's talent on the spot.
"With your looks and skills, you are looking at $25m to $30m a year – and that's US," Foxx first told Walsh on the microphone.
Walsh at the invitation of Foxx got out of his seat and walked away from his VIP table to the only spare floor space available – nearly 40 metres away from Brady – in front of a packed hall of 2000 onlookers.
A hesitant Brady for the safety of the patrons hurled a thunderbolt ball from the stage into the middle of the room where Walsh wearing smart casual attire ran across and took the pass effortlessly on his chest.
Vision of the catch has gone viral in the US across social media over the past few days for Americans to know not only Walsh's name, but that it was also not some easy lob.
"There's part of me that says, 'I can't make it that easy'," Brady said to an Australian crowd that had parted with $145 for a basic ticket, "because they are all going to go back and be like, 'That was easy…I caught a pass'.
"So sometimes I like to make it a little hard."
Walsh had never considered trying out for American football, but told reporters later it was tempting "because there's quite a bit more money there".
He playfully teased Broncos chief executive Dave Donaghy over what the club could lose in the future in such a way to ensure Walsh will get a significant pay rise at his next contract talks.
Walsh had in fact turned around when Foxx told him of his possible value and said to the laughter in the crowd, "Did you hear that, Dave?"
From around the $400,000 mark a season on his current arrangement at the Broncos, he may be expecting a new deal at the end of the 2025 season to be worth close to $1 million a year.
But Walsh will be able to field offers as soon as this year after November 1 under NRL regulations.
The former Warrior rookie left the convention centre with more than a one-on-one interaction, on and off the stage with arguably the greatest NFL performer of all time.
"Not every day you get to see Tom Brady talk, and then get to catch the ball and get it signed," Walsh said.
The cheeky kid who grew up on the Gold Coast said that although he has never been a serious follower of the NFL, he has admired Brady for the longevity of his career that has spanned more than two decades, including 20 seasons for New England Patriots.
"How he applied himself every day and his mentality, for me, being at a younger age, it's good to listen and hear one of the best players talk about his mindset and how he tackled it every day," Walsh said.