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The "new" Seferian-Jenkins may help Jets

5/30/2017 10:13:00 PM
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets might have a new weapon at tight end. Even more importantly, Austin Seferian-Jenkins has begun a new lease on life.

Jenkins continued an eye-opening offseason Tuesday, when he told that he enrolled in outpatient alcohol rehab in January and has gone 129 days since his last drink.

"Ever since I stopped drinking, it's been a transformation," Seferian-Jenkins told the website. "It really has changed my life."

Seferian-Jenkins realized he hit a crossroads last season, when he was waived by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 23, hours after he was arrested for DUI. It was the second DUI for Seferian-Jenkins, who was also arrested while in college.

The Jets claimed Seferian-Jenkins, but he continued to drink while battling hamstring and ankle injuries. He put together an underwhelming stat line (10 catches for 110 yards) in an offense that didn't feature the tight end.

Finally, after gaining 20 pounds during the season, Seferian-Jenkins had enough. He had his last drink on Jan. 21.

"Knowing you need help and you don't get it, that's the worst thing," Seferian-Jenkins said. "I was scared to get help. I was scared and embarrassed to tell people I have a problem."

Fortunately, Seferian-Jenkins found sympathetic ears within the Jets organization.

"I give a lot of credit to the Jets' organization, because they supported me when I told them I need to get help," Seferian-Jenkins said. "They were the first people to say, 'We're so proud of you.' It wasn't embarrassing. They were like, 'This is great. This will be a great turning point in your life.'"

A sober and slimmed-down Seferian-Jenkins is opening eyes during OTAs, where he has been the best tight end on the field during the first two weeks while working under an offensive coordinator, John Morton, who acknowledges the existence of a tight end.

While he must open the season by serving a two-game suspension for his DUI, the opportunity is there for Seferian-Jenkins to finally reach the potential the Buccaneers saw when they selected him in the second round of the 2014 draft.

"He's been running well," Jets head coach Todd Bowles said Tuesday. "Obviously, he's dropped some pounds and he's getting a grasp of the offense pretty good. He's in a groove right now. It's early, but so far he's been doing well."

On and especially off the field.

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