FLORHAM PARK, NJ – Miguel Maysonet walks out to the field house after his second day of Jets practice wearing Air Jordan sandals, a bright red Stony Brook football hoodie and a million-watt smile.
Exactly a year ago, the star running back was preparing for the Gardner-Webb University Bulldogs – an opponent he bulldozed for 244 yards and two touchdowns, including a 75-yard kick return.
Today, the former Walter Payton Award runner-up for the best player in the FBS is preparing for a much different opponent: NFL front offices.
“Hopefully I’ll stay longer than a week and then I’ll start getting excited about everything,” Maysonet told Jets Insider after signing with the team on Tuesday.
“I am excited, but it’s hard to … you know,” he said, his voice trailing off.
It’s hard to get your hopes up.
Maysonet is on his fifth team in sixth months after going undrafted out of Stony Brook University in April. He signed with Philadelphia following the draft but was cut after less than a month and has since made short stops in Cleveland, Indianapolis and San Diego. Never sticking.
“It’s the business I’m in and you just have to accept that. When [I get cut], I’m sad for a couple seconds and then I just have to move on,” said Maysonet. “I am looking forward to settling down and actually staying with a team for a long period of time.”
And what better team to settle down with than his hometown New York Jets?
The kid from Riverhead, NY, who wore a Curtis Martin jersey growing up and rushed for 1,964 yards and 23 touchdowns as a senior for the hometown Seawolves has come home.
“I was just excited that I was able to have the opportunity to still be playing football,” he said. “And then playing in New York, that’s just a dream come true.”
The Jets snatched up Maysonet the moment he landed in Cincinnati for a workout with the Bengals, a workout he never made it to.
“As soon as I touched down, I turned my phone on and the phone rang and it was a New Jersey area code so I was like, ‘it has to be the Jets or the Giants,’” said Maysonet. “When I answered, it was the Jets.”
The Jets were in the market for a running back after Mike Goodson went down for the season, tearing his anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments against the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday. Now, Maysonet may just have a chance to stick with his hometown team.
Still, Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory will get the lion’s share of the carries for the Jets, as Maysonet awaits his opportunity as a practice squad player, fourth on the depth chart behind Alex Green, catching passing from the recently retired (and then unretired) David Garrard in practice.
“You don’t know how upstairs works and what they’re doing, so it’s hard,” said Maysonet, still uncertain about his whether his sentence in practice squad purgatory will end. “I would hope, and love to stay here, but you never know at the end of the day.”
Maysonet continues through the Jets field house after practice, past Curtis Martin’s Ring of Honor banner, and on to this temporary home, the Hyatt a couple blocks from the facility. He doesn’t know how long he’ll be staying there, but he’s thankful for another chance to pursue his dream.
“I played my high school football in New York, I played my college football in New York and now me staying in New York, that’s just awesome,” he said.