The NFL is a weekday gig for ex-Duck
- jason vondersmith
- Portland Tribune - Sports
• Seattle practice player Jordan Kent watches from the sidelines in street clothes
Jordan Kent's life always has been filled with competition - long jumps in track and field, fly patterns in football, in-your-face defense in basketball.
So, a year of just practicing with the Seattle Seahawks has been different.
Of course, getting paid is different, too.
Seattle has made the NFL playoffs again, and the former University of Oregon athlete has watched every game in street clothes as a member of the practice squad. His job is on weekdays, when he mimics one of the opposing team's receivers, such as Larry Fitzgerald of Arizona or T.J. Houshmandzadeh of Cincinnati.
If the Seahawks do well against such receivers, Kent always can smile, knowing he might have helped.
Kent says his role on the scout team can be competitive, at times.
'When we're 'live' we're trying to beat our man,' he says. 'We do 7-on-7 or team drills, and we try to go as hard as we can. I have a really good time with it; all the practice guys get along really well.
'Anytime you can go against a defense with four Pro Bowl starters, it's a great opportunity.'
Kent has bonded with fellow practice squad receiver Logan Payne and tight end Joe Newton, who played at Oregon State. Kent has not traveled with the Seahawks - he has attended UO football and basketball games, however - and he and his buddies usually keep themselves busy playing the 'Halo' Xbox game or going out on weekends in Seattle.
'We don't do anything too crazy,' he says. 'We get a nice dinner, celebrate a hard week of work.'
A track and field champion and hustling basketball player for Churchill High and Oregon, Kent has been a work-in-progress receiver since taking up football in 2005. He continues to work on catching the ball, making cuts against defensive backs and running routes.
'I really do feel I've improved in a lot of little things -gaining separation, making catches in traffic, coming back and making the catch,' says Kent, who had 47 catches for 603 yards and five TDs in 21 Oregon games.It's the NFL, but Kent says he still can outrun other players.
'Trust me, guys are fast at this level, but my speed is my best asset,' he says. 'It's not like college - one move and you blow by guys. You've got to get on his hip and get on top of him.'
Kent says he is confident the Seahawks will invite him back for minicamps next year and training camp in July.
He plans to persevere to make the NFL. After all, he gave up basketball and track and field for football.
'I wouldn't have made all the sacrifices to get to this point to make a halfhearted effort,' he says.