New York Jets second-year linebacker Nick Bellore does not take his job for granted.
Undrafted out of Central Michigan in 2011, Bellore made the most out of his opportunity last season, earning a spot on the Jets’ 53-man roster as a backup linebacker and special teamer.
Bellore wasn’t satisfied with just making the team. Given the chance to play on special teams, he grabbed the proverbial bull by the horns and had an outstanding rookie season.
Having released their top three special teams tacklers from 2010, the Jets needed someone to step up on kick coverages, and Nick Bellore did exactly that.
In 16 games, Bellore had 19 tackles, helping the Jets hold opponents to an average starting field positon of 21.2 yards, 6th-best in the NFL.
The Jets were also 3rd in the league with 26 tackles inside the 20-yard line on kick return coverage, thanks in large part to the efforts of Bellore. He’s been working hard, trying to make sure his rookie season is no fluke.
He did a quick Q&A with the Star-Ledger this week, where he talked about the offseason, among other things.
Asked about the biggest thing that surprised him about mini-camp and OTAs this year, Bellore praised the team unity.
“I think the biggest thing is our attendance as a team, because from what I hear, it’s very low with other teams. And from what I hear, we’re just about 100 percent,” Bellore said.
“So it’s just like college, where they say it’s voluntary, but everyone is there. It’s the same thing here, and that’s really cool. You form bonds with teammates, and it breeds competition, which I think helps us in the long run.”
As the Jets get set for training camp in Cortland, it’s encouraging to hear that the team bonding has already begun.