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Postby elaine95 on 10 Oct 2018, 04:34

Nathan Shepherd jumped off the defensive line Customized Washington Redskins Jerseys , got into the New York Jets‘ backfield and saw Sam Darnold standing just a few feet away.

Then, the third-round draft pick put on the brakes.

”Oh, I stayed away from him,” a smiling Shepherd said of Darnold on Saturday during rookie minicamp. ”No sir. You see the red (jersey) and you turn the other way.”

Quarterbacks are off-limits to contact in NFL practices, so would-be sack-happy defenders such as Shepherd need to tread lightly – especially when the No. 3 overall pick and future of the franchise is in the pocket.

But games are another story, of course, and the Jets will be counting on Shepherd and fellow rookie Folorunso Fatukasi to help make Sundays miserable for opposing offenses. New York went big in the draft – after taking Darnold in the first round – by adding heft to its defensive line.

Over 630 pounds worth.

Shepherd is a 6-foot-4, 315-pounder from Fort Hays State. Fatukasi, a sixth-rounder from UConn, is 6-3 and 318.

”Same size, different players,” coach Todd Bowles said last week after the draft.

Shepherd and Fatukasi could get plenty of opportunities to play as rookies. Bowles said both can play nose tackle and spell Leonard Williams at defensive end, and the Jets will have them slotted for certain roles depending on what defensive scheme they want to use.

They might also be able to help offset the loss of Muhammad Wilkerson, who was cut during the offseason and has since signed with Green Bay. The Jets still have Williams and Steve McLendon on their defensive line, as well as Mike Pennel, Xavier Cooper and Henry Anderson, who was acquired in a draft-day deal with Indianapolis.

”I think that whatever the opportunity the Jets have for me is going to be more than enough for me,” Shepherd said. ”If they need help in a certain area, then I would certainly feel honored that they would come and look to me for that.”

Boosting a pass rush that has struggled to consistently get to the quarterback the last few seasons might be one.

”We’ll see,” Bowles said of Shepherd. ”We expect him to have an impact as a defensive lineman, but sacks come differently for different people. As long as he does what he is supposed to do, which we’re sure he will Davon House Jersey , we’ll get better and we’ll see where the pass rush is and if the sacks come.”

Shepherd is a study in patience and perseverance . The native of Ontario, Canada, redshirted his first season at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia and then became a starter before leaving school for financial reasons.

Shepherd worked several side jobs for the next two years, dreaming of returning to football someday while fighting to keep motivated every day.

”Yeah, most mornings,” he said. ”You’re thinking, `OK, I’ve got to go to work and this check isn’t really doing anything to improve my life today, that I can see.’ So, that was difficult, but you’ve just got to keep the dream alive and know that you’re that much closer.”

Shepherd landed at Fort Hays State in Kansas in 2015, became a starter and was the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association defensive player of the year as a senior. He finished his three-year career at Fort Hays with 168 tackles, including 27 for loss, and 10 sacks.

Now, he’s in the NFL – something he’s still trying to grasp.

”I was fortunate enough to be able to keep my same number, so I’ll be No. 97,” he said. ”I have my jersey from college, so I think when I take that picture of my college jersey and my pro jersey, that moment will sink in for me.”

For Fatukasi, this marks sort of a homecoming. He grew up in the Far Rockaway section of Queens, New York, and ended up going to UConn. He went through three coaching changes while he was there but thrived despite the constant turnover.

He had 45 tackles Semyon Varlamov Jersey , including 7 for losses, as a senior and was tied for second on the Huskies with four sacks. Fatukasi finished his college career with 168 tackles and 14 sacks in 48 games while playing several positions on UConn’s defensive line.

”Having three different head coaches – and if you include the interim head coach, it’s four – and having a various amount of defenses, I’ve kind of been all over,” Fatukasi said.

That versatility will be valuable for the Jets, who tend to move players around on the line to keep them fresh. Both Shepherd and Fatukasi could quickly find themselves part of that rotation, but they first need to get adjusted to playing in the NFL.

”I had to quickly get off the high of being drafted,” Fatukasi said, ”and realize there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

WESTFIELD, Ind. (AP) Adam Vinatieri vividly remembers his last game against Morten Andersen.

The Danish-born kicker had already logged more than 20 seasons in the NFL, was well into his 40s, nearing the end of his career and still kicking as well as anyone in the league. Back then, Vinatieri marveled at how the seemingly ageless Andersen managed to excel for so long.

Now, more than a decade later, Vinatieri finds himself grinding through his 23rd NFL training camp, hoping to carve out enough time Saturday to watch the NFL’s career scoring leader make his long-awaited Hall of Fame speech.

”It’s overdue, a long time overdue,” the Indianapolis Colts kicker said. ”I would have liked to have seen a handful more kickers and punters make it in there, but finally getting a second kicker in and Ray Guy getting in, it’s good that we have some representation in there because those guys did a lot for the league.”

Andersen’s induction provides hope to specialists such as Vinatieri that they, too, could be headed to Canton Dolphins Cheap Jerseys , Ohio, one day.

Until Andersen’s selection this year, Vinatieri wasn’t sure. The only one other ”pure” kicker to earn pro football’s highest distinction was Jan Stenerud in 1991. Guy was elected in 2014, ending the shutout for punters.

Some believe Vinatieri could be next.

His sterling resume glistens with Hall of Fame credentials: four Super Bowl rings, the league record for 100-point seasons (20) and second all-time in career scoring (2,487 points). Anderson finished with 2,544 and Vinatieri needs 58 points to break the record, which could happen at midseason if all goes well.

He owns the career record for scoring in postseason games (234), is the only player to top 1,000 points and make 200 field goals with two teams, has celebrated a league-record 225 victories, including playoffs, and made a league-high 44 consecutive field goals. If Vinatieri completes this season, he would become only the third 46-year-old player to suit up for an NFL team.

His highlight reel contains some of the most memorable kicks in league history: two last-minute field goals to win Super Bowls and the tying and winning kicks in the infamous Snow Bowl, which helped New England win the first of its five Lombardi Trophies. He has been dubbed the best clutch kicker in league history and there’s no indication ”Automatic Adam” is slowing down.

”It’s ridiculous,” holder Rigoberto Sanchez said. ”It’s honestly out of this world, I think. Twenty-three years in the league, still kicking the ball the way he kicks it, 60 yards out in practice. It’s unreal.”

Just how much has Vinatieri seen and done during his career?

He is the last link to the NFL’s developmental league in Europe, the one Andrew Luck’s father worked with, and one of only two players left from the 1990s. Former teammate Phil Dawson is the other.

Vinatieri joined the league before former teammates Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, still reminds people he once tackled Herschel Walker and acknowledges missing on Desmond Howard and Devin Hester as they returned his kickoffs for Super Bowl scores.

He played for Hall of Fame coaches Bill Parcells and Tony Dungy Customized Chicago Bears Jerseys , in addition to Bill Belichick. His newest coach, Frank Reich, actually threw for 281 yards against the Patriots during Vinatieri’s rookie season in 1996.

Somehow, though, he remains the epitome of consistency.

Last year, with a new long snapper and a new holder, Vinatieri still made 85.3 percent of his field goals and scored 109 points and now he’s back with his oldest son, A.J., serving as a ball boy at training camp.

”It comes to a point where Adam is Mr. Clutch over here, so (long snapper) Luke (Rhodes) just tries to do his job right and get the 12 o’clock laces and I try to get the ball in the spot that he likes and let him do the rest,” said Sanchez, who wasn’t even born until a week after Vinatieri’s NFL debut in 1996. ”He’s been kicking it straight for a long time.”

Despite the honors, the nicknames and the Hall of Fame predictions, Vinatieri knows he may still need more to follow the kicker he has been watching since his younger days in South Dakota into the NFL’s most hallowed halls.

”I don’t think it hurts, that’s for sure,” Vinatieri said. ”It’s one of those things that I haven’t really though too much about it. I’m still just trying to help my team win games and keep on putting chapters in this book and if that happens, fantastic.”

NOTES: The Colts have activated starting safeties Clayton Geathers and Malik Hooker from the physically unable to perform list Thursday. Both were coming off knee surgery. … Guard Jeremy Vujnovich also was activated from PUP. He had been out with an injured calf after starting all 16 games last season.

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