When Pat Newins was punting at Fordham’s pro day last Wednesday, there was no question he had some nerves.
He knew it, a few teams noticed it, and to a degree, it affected his punts.
But that wasn’t the case Thursday.
Thanks to a training session Wednesday night with his coach from Misericordia, Joe Zabielski, at a Scranton area high school, Newins felt like he was on his own island while punting at a private workout for the New York Jets at their Florham Park, N.J. facility.
“He really helped a ton with my mental state there just because I was kicking the ball very well with him and it kind of reinstilled some of the things he hammered home during the season, with just being relaxed and one kick at a time, and you’re not scared to compete with anyone but yourself,” the former Misericordia punter said. “Being able to just kind of remember that (and) such a quick turnaround, it helped tremendously because kicking today, I was so easily able to just kind of forget where I was and who was watching. It was almost like I was just kicking with the buddies up at school.”
Newins’ day began at 7:30 a.m. at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center.
First there was an hour-long session of paper work to fill out. Then his measurements recorded. It wasn’t until after an introduction from New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles, breakfast and a meeting with New York Jets special teams coordinator Brant Boyer and assistant special teams coach Jeff Hammerschmidt, that Newins and his fellow specialists — a Duke long snapper and a SUNY Cortland long snapper — finally got the green light.
And unlike at Fordham, when he got in 12 punts, Newins had 26 on Thursday — six to the left, six to the right, six from his own end zone, six pooch punts and a pair of punts where he lined up to kick the ball to his right, but instead kicked it across his body.
“I think I was night-and-day different,” Newins said. “I think (my relaxation) even showed in how I kick because I think I did a ton better than I did last week at Fordham.”
Newins hopes that everything he’s done throughout the pre-draft process will be enough to secure a spot at a rookie mini camp where he has the chance to earn his NFL stripes and a spot on a 90-man training camp roster.
“It was really just surreal, just because there’s me with my Misericordia football sweatshirt on in the auditorium in the Jets facility sitting next to a tight end from Florida State and a lineman from Ohio State,” said the Levittown, N.Y. native. “Like, what’s going on? What’s wrong with this picture? It’s just really crazy, just the whole thing. Really, it’s almost like a dream.”