Today was a quiet day at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. The players were off to the annual Kickoff Luncheon at Cipriani Wall Street today, and then after some team-building activities it was on by bus to Center City, Philadelphia, tonight.
Then comes a long day’s journey into night as many of the Jets on the back end of the 75-player roster will be playing Thursday night against the Eagles at the Linc for a roster spot this season and maybe for their pro careers. It can be a time of nervous introspection or even fear of the unknown.
Unless you’re Brashton Satele. If the free agent rookie linebacker’s got butterflies heading into this important game for him, he’s netted them up and mounted them in his collection book.
“Never. It’s never going to be the end,” Satele said plainly when I asked him if he contemplated if football would be over for him if he’s waived by Saturday morning. “I’m going to try my best to get where I want to be. I believe you become what you believe. Whatever you want to be, you just have to believe it and you become it. Nothing in life comes easy, so you just have to keep fighting for what you want.”
Such quiet, unshakable belief has always fascinated me as I’ve covered the NFL for more decades than I care to admit. Where did Brashton’s conviction come from?
“From my church, Pastor Art Sepulveda,” he said. “He’s the owner of Word of Life Academy in Hawaii. He installed that into me a long time ago. I took that going from high school to college and from college to here.”
Satele’s in an odd position because while every free agent has a story for why he wasn’t drafted, the University of Hawaii product has an especially painful tale. Head coach Rex Ryan said up at SUNY Cortland that Brashton’s “one of those under-the-radar guys who showed up and is doing a great job for us.”
But on an edition of “Hard Knocks,” the defensive coaches were overheard saying “the kid’s hurt all the time.” Satele heard that observation and he just wants to remind that there have been two injuries he’s had to fight through.
One was the torn shoulder muscle at Hawaii. He played with it all junior season but didn’t get it surgically repaired until he retore it last summer before his senior season. So he went from a lower-round draft pick off of 32 value boards.
Then came day 3 of camp, when he left practice with an ankle injury.
“I’m still waiting for it to get 100 percent so I can show my full ability,” he said. “It’s frustrating because it’s kind of aching and sore but there’s nothing I can do about it. No one in footballs 100 percent. I just have to push through it.”
Despite having that stacked against him, he went out for the entire fourth quarter of the Redskins preseason game and made a pair of solo tackles on defense.
“That was my first game since December ’08,” he said with a smile. “So it was exciting. It was good to finally get out there and go full-speed.”
Because of the injuries to Satele, Josh Mauga and Calvin Pace, the Jets have brought in a passel of ‘backers recently, such as Boris Lee, Tim Knicky and Tuesday’s waiver pickup of Ricky Foley, a 12-sack man in the CFL last year. Add in guys with experience like Lance Laury and Kenwin Cummings and Cory Reamer and the depth chart is looking like a bus station at the moment. Some are more suited for outside than inside work, but all want jobs and most are not guaranteed anything other than an opportunity some time Thursday night in the south section of the City of Brotherly Love.
That’s all Satele wants.
“I’m just ready to go out there,” he said, “to do my best and show the coaches what they want to see. I just want to be explosive, physical. I want to be myself out there.”
Tags: Brashton Satele, Josh Mauga, Kenwin Cummings, Lance Laury, Rex Ryan
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