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Austin Seferian-Jenkins must be major part of the Jets’ future

The time since that day in late January has gone by rather quickly. But when Austin Seferian-Jenkins looks in the mirror now, he likes what he sees.

Seferian-Jenkins’ first day sober was Jan. 21 as he returned his derailed life back onto its tracks. So the Jets tight end has a significant anniversary coming up soon after this season — his best as a pro — comes to its conclusion.

Why January 21?

“I wouldn’t even look in the mirror because I was just so embarrassed at who I was,’’ Seferian-Jenkins told The Post after practice Friday. “That [bleep] got to me I just did not want to be like that. I knew how good I could be in life and as a football player.

“I was just unhappy with the way I was living as a person, not fulfilling my potential as a human being. I got tired of letting my mom [Linda] down. I got tired of letting my sister [Michaela] down. I got tired of just being an example of what not to be instead of being an example of what I should be and how I should do things.’’

What the 25-year-old Seferian-Jenkins has done is catch 46 passes for 336 yards and three TDs in 12 games this season entering Sunday’s home finale against the Chargers at MetLife Stadium. That’s the best season a Jets tight end has delivered since Dustin Keller caught 65 passes in 2011.

What Seferian-Jenkins has done, too, is present an inarguable case that he needs to be a part of the Jets’ rebuilding. He’s in the final year of his contract, but must be a priority to re-sign considering he fits the exact profile of the players with which the Jets are trying to fill their locker room — young, productive and developing.

“I want to be the best tight end the Jets have ever had,’’ Seferian-Jenkins said. “I know where I’ve been, where I’m at now and where I want to be. I know how far I’m going to take this thing, and I want to do it here. I can help this team.

“For years to come, I can take this thing to a whole other level — a level the New York Jets haven’t seen in a long time … or maybe ever. I know I can do that and I know this is the place to do it.’’

Seferian-Jenkins’ most powerful motivating force to getting sober was Michaela, his 21-year-old sister, who’s a student at NYU.

“I never told her that, but she was one of the biggest reasons why I stopped drinking,’’ he said. “I’m supposed to be her big brother. I’m supposed to be showing her how to do things. And if I just [bleeping] crash and fall, what am I teaching her about life? I’ve got to set an example for her. I want her to be proud of me.’’

The remarkably level-headed way Seferian-Jenkins handled the two controversial overturned TD receptions he was involved in — first against the Patriots and then against the Panthers — blew his teammates away.

“Just the other day I told him, ‘I like the way you carry yourself. You’re all in,’ ” cornerback Morris Claiborne said. “You can tell from the energy he brings in practice to off the field that he’s not afraid to call us out and say we’ve got be better, but most of all he holds himself accountable for everything that he does, all his actions.’’

Linebacker Demario Davis, whose locker is adjacent to Seferian-Jenkins’, called his teammate a “remarkable, remarkable person.’’

Davis recalled when he was traded from the Browns back to the Jets last spring, the coaches gave him an iPad with footage of the OTA practices so he could get up to speed.

“I was watching the Jets practice and [Seferian-Jenkins] just jumped out on tape,’’ Davis said. “I was like, ‘Man, this tight end is killing everybody. This guy is going to be a problem.’ Then I started practicing with him and he made some spectacular catches on me and I was like, ‘OK, he’s the real deal.’ And he’s just taken it to the field.’’

Austin Seferian-JenkinsAnthony J. Causi

How much better can Seferian-Jenkins be?

“He can be as good as he wants to be,’’ Davis said.

Seferian-Jenkins believes his calling, however, is much bigger than how many receptions and TDs he amasses.

“It’s good that football is going well, but hopefully whenever I’m done here people will be able to look at me and say, ‘Damn, he was doing all these negative things and having these troubles and he was able to come back and be a leader and do positive things, changed his image, changed who he is,’ ” Seferian-Jenkins said. “I just hope I’m able to give people hope.’’

Source: https://nypost.com/2017/12/23/austin-seferian-jenkins-must-be-major-part-of-the-jets-future/

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