In 1988, then-football coach Jerry Glanville coined the now famous acronym ‘Not For Long’ when explaining to an official what the NFL actually stands for. It’s since become the go-to reference when drawing a realistic picture of what life’s really like in the league where they play for pay.
What is good today, can turn bad in a New York minute.
The New York Jets parted ways with 20 players on Saturday, the move trimmed down their roster to an NFL-mandated list of 53 players.
Consider cut-down day to be the league’s version of ‘Black Monday’. Some players may find hope elsewhere, however most will be forced to confront the reality of their NFL dreams coming to an end.
Among the Jets’ final 20 players to receive pink slips from head coach Todd Bowles were cornerback Dee Milliner and tight end Jace Amaro.
Milliner and Amaro were the most notable on the list because of what they were suppose to represent to the Jets at one point, the future.
The Jets used their 2013 first-round pick to draft Milliner ninth overall out of Alabama. A year later, Amaro was taken by the Jets in the second-round out of Texas Tech.
Milliner’s problem was he couldn’t stay healthy. There was a sprained ankle, then a torn ACL, and then wrist surgery.
He couldn’t stay on the field long enough to build any goodwill with the fans or the new Jets’ regime which was brought in to clean up the mess left behind by then-general manager John Idzik.
The Jets’ decision to cut Milliner, even with all of that baggage, still was a bit of a surprise simply because of the money he’s still owed.
Milliner has $2.1 million in guaranteed money still coming his way from his rookie contract. That’s money the Jets decided they’re just going to eat as long he’s off the team.
The money’s good for Milliner, but also bad because of how it looks when a team’s basically paying to get rid of you.
Hey, maybe another team will take a chance on Milliner, after all he’s still only 24 years old. Maybe a change of scenery will help. However, he’ll still arguably go down as one of the all-time draft busts in the history of the Jets.
Amaro won’t be far behind on that list. He was supposed to be the pass-catching tight end the Jets would use to add another dynamic to their offense.
The only problem with that concept was Amaro dropped more footballs than he caught, well at least it appeared that way.
There were too many dropped passes in Amaro’s rookie year to ignore, and then an injury caused him to miss his entire second season.
By the time Amaro returned this season for training camp, his spot on the depth chart was in jeopardy. He started out with a few impressive practices but faded to the background as the summer went on. The Jets had seen enough.
Both players were drafted by Idzik. The Jets fired Idzik after the 2014 season, and now, less than two years later, two more of his 19 draft selections are now gone.
Idzik wasn’t very good as a general manager, but the fact still remains he was in a position to give opportunity. Milliner and Amaro failed to take advantage of this.
The 24-year old Amaro, much like Milliner, may land with another team. The Jets, meanwhile, will move on and prepare for the upcoming season.
There will only be so many chances and opportunities to prove yourself before dreams become deferred or evaporate all together.
These are two more examples of the ‘Not for Long’ mentality some young professional athletes lose sight of along the way.
Potential may help buy the groceries, but the meal doesn’t cook itself. It’s still very much and always will be about getting the job done where it matters most.
Millner and Amaro failed to do this, and for that the Jets gave them a parting gift, a reality check in the form of a pink slip.