One could say that what has happened to Austin Seferian-Jenkins is nothing short of luck, though nobody is saying if this is good luck or bad luck.
Two DUI Arrests Since 2013
Seferian-Jenkins’s professional road has been a rocky one — A public spectacle littered with several incidents involving alcohol. September 23, 2016, not only marks his second DUI, but it also marks the last day he was a tight end for the Tampa Buccaneers. A day many believe should have ended his career.
Back in 2013, he sat in a jail cell as his first DUI unfolded. The first hint of problems occurred when Seferian-Jenkins was still playing rookie football. His touchdown performance offended the NFL which slapped him with an $11,000 fine. This crime — mimicking Captain Morgan. Yes, the iconic pirate that proudly poses on each bottle of Captain Morgan Rum. History, it seems, was unfolding even then.
Those are the highlights of an NFL career on the brink of disaster. Thus, the two DUI’s that follow this incident are more than warnings. For most of us they would be epiphanies — A wake-up call. Not so for Seferian-Jenkins.
Good Luck or Bad?
To the shock of much of the NFL, the New York Jets picked up the struggling problem drinker. Their aim was to help them solve their team’s weak tight end roster problems. When critics voice rang clearly over the team’s decision to bring on such a trouble player, the Jets stood firmly. They began with the story of another young and troubled player. — Erin Henderson.
The circumstances behind Erin Henderson, his fall, and the process of recovery are a different tale altogether. Like Seferian-Jenkins, Henderson was a headed down the wrong road. With two DUI’s his career was pretty much done. The Jets took him under their wing, much as they are trying to do with Seferian-Jenkins. Henderson has remained trouble-free and is a productive member of the team. However, this is not a simple comparison of apples and oranges.
While the Jets are quick to point to Henderson’s success, they fail to mention a potentially fatal flaw in their reasoning. There is a difference between the two drinkers. Seferian-Jenkins is fresh out of his DUI cell. Henderson spent a year outside of the NFL and had the decency to complete rehab. Seferian-Jenkins has not seen the outcome not how potentially lucky he is. His hunger for fun and drinking is not subsided. Anyone who knows the story of alcoholics knows that the cravings are not going to go away simply because the coach said so. Apples, as it were, do not fall far from the tree.
There Are Warning Signs
Earlier in 2016, Seferian-Jenkins was removed from the practice field. He was not able to participate in team practice. The official reasoning was that he was unclear where to line up to begin the play. There was no reason given as to why. He was simply removed from practice.
The history of Seferian-Jenkins is riddled with warning signs. The two DUIs are just the darkest hours of someone’s life who has a lot to lose. The motivation behind the Jet’s charity is also in question. We wonder if this is an opportunity to snatch up a dishonored NFL player and reap the benefits of his talent? Do they even care about this young man? One cannot fault them for their care of Erin Henderson. He was over and they allowed him to continue. Will it be the same for Austin Seferian-Jenkins? It could be that they have denied him the hard, rock bottom that might put him on the road to sobriety? Is he someone who should even be in the NFL? His former stats are not impressive. The critics will tell you so. We hope that the Jets see something many of us don’t — A glimmer of reality hiding behind a dark storm brewing.