For Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the big number yesterday wasn’t 25, for the number of pounds he lost to get himself in shape for this season.
It was 129, as in days without alcohol, after he sought help for a problem following last year’s DUI arrest.
Seferian-Jenkins told Rich Cimimi of ESPN.com that he stopped drinking on Jan. 21 and attended rehab four days a week on an outpatient basis.
“Even since I stopped drinking, it’s been a transformation,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “It really has changed my life. I just try to win one day at a time. I’ve won 129 days and I’m going to continue to win however many more days. It’s been a blessing.”
The Jets took a chance on the 24-year-old tight end after the Bucs cut him following the arrest. They know he’ll miss two games because of the suspension he incurred there, but they think he’s worth a shot. And while it took him a few months to ask for help after the arrest, he’s walking that path now.
“Knowing you need help and you don’t go get it, that’s the worst thing,” he said. “I was scared to get help. I was scared and embarrassed to tell people I have a problem. . . .
“It’s not like I was dependent on it; I was dependent on self-medicating myself so I could deal with s—. Once I figured out what was going on, I got help. I went to the doctor and figured everything out. “I’ve been straight. It’s not like I’m f—–g dying. It’s not like I craved it, wake up in the morning and I need a drink. It was just like, I’m having a tough time, I’m dealing with something, it’s 6:30 p.m. and let’s crack one back.”
He gave credit to the Jets organization for not just taking a chance on him as a player, but for having his back off the field.
“I give a lot of credit to the Jets’ organization because they supported me when I told them I need to get help,” he 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.’ . . .
“I want to be the guy the Jets brought in, the guy they see as a diamond in the rough, that they want to brush off and clean and show what he really can do. I’m brushing it away right now. I’m going to shine.”
And while he’s always had football talent (that’s the reason the Jets brought him in), he’s put himself in a better spot to showcase it now, an arrangement which should benefit both parties.