Neville Hewitt believes he’s ready to become a full-time starter and hopes to do that with the NY Jets. Here are all the details from an exclusive interview.
Last season the NY Jets dealt with some obscene levels of adversity.
The linebacker room was decimated by injuries (Avery Williamson tore his ACL in the preseason and CJ Mosley hurt his groin Week 1 vs the Buffalo Bills). This forced role players and practice squad players into the starting lineup.
While the overall team success wasn’t great (7-9), the players made the best out of an incredibly crappy situation.
One of those players that stepped up to the plate was NY Jets linebacker, Neville Hewitt.
Hewitt recently sat down with Boy Green on The Jets Zone to answer some pressing questions ahead of free agency. Here is some of the top questions from that conversation. You can listen to the full interview by clicking here.
Q: What was going through your mind when the linebacker room got devastated by injuries last year?
“I mean it was crazy but it wasn’t the first time I’ve seen something like this happen. Back in my third year with the Miami Dolphins, the same thing happened in our linebacker room. Koa Misi got hurt and his career was over. I got injured and Raekwon McMillan went down too. So I’ve seen it happen before.
The coaches always say prepare as if you’re a starter. So when this happened I was prepared for it. I had been playing will linebacker and I had that down so I wanted to learn another position so I cross studied mike linebacker. Then I was doing well there so I got some preseason reps at the mike position. They say everything happens for a reason.
On one side you hate to see your brothers get hurt, I played with Avery Williamson the year before, but at the same time we had to be ready for that opportunity and I thought all the guys who stepped up did a great job.”
Q: So what’s it like playing for defensive coordinator Gregg Williams?
“It’s cool man. He’s going to get the best out of you, he’ll coach you hard, and everyone is held accountable. That’s the way it should be and I like that. You know we are all crazy in some way and he’s just a great coach and we love playing for him.”
Q: You seem like a really humble guy Neville, but let me give you a chance to talk about yourself, what do you bring to the table?
“If you turn on the film you’ll see a lot. I don’t know how many linebackers play ‘mike’ and also play on special teams. I’m a versatile guy, I can play any of the linebacker positions. You tell me what you want and I’ll do it to the best of my abilities.
I’m training to be ready for when that fourth quarter hits and a play needs to be made that I’m your guy. I’ve really taken the next step in becoming a better professional athlete. This entire offseason I’m trying to jump into that elite status. I’m doing way more than I’ve ever done from running to weightlifting and I’ve been doing that since two weeks after the season ended. If you bring me in I’m going to come to work every day.”
Q: So with you becoming an unrestricted free agent in a few weeks what is most important to you? What are you weighing when you’re making this decision on your future?
“You know everybody wants to make some money, but the one thing I want to do before I’m doing playing is win a Super Bowl. I want to compete in the playoffs. I don’t care where I play once you get to a place you get familiar with people and then you get settled in and you can get to work. I just want to go somewhere that wants to win. If we all do our jobs, everyone is happy. If we go out and chase the championship and work as hard as we can: the fans will be happy, the owner will be happy, and when the time comes to get paid you’ll be happy.”
Q: Last one before we get you out of here, have you and the NY Jets started talking contract yet? And also after your experience last year, do you think you’re ready to be a starter full-time in this league?
“We spoke at the meetings at the end of the season they told me they love me and I love the NY Jets. I’m going to let that stuff play out, I don’t really want to get into it, but at the end of the day everyone is going to make the best decision for them.
In terms of being a starter, I absolutely think I’m ready to contribute at that level. This may not be humble to say this but I’m going to be one of the most in-shape guys in the league entering next year. I’m in the best shape of my life and if you ask any of the staffs I’ve been with before (Jets or Dolphins) they’ll tell you I come in top shape. I could step in and play in a football game right now.”