Greg Van Roten grew up a Jets fan on Long Island, and his father has been a Jets fan for basically the team’s entire existence. If anyone on that team knows how the fans must feel watching the 0-6 Jets slog through loss after loss after loss with no end in sight (and no light in the tunnel), it’s the right guard who signed a three-year deal to come “home” last winter after three years in Carolina.
Because trust him, the players feel it too.
“You can get all caught up in the emotions of this game and the outside noise of the fans, but no one cares more than the guys in the locker room,” Van Roten said in a Zoom call with the media. “This is my job. I get paid to play football. I love this game and I want to go out there and play a perfect game every week. It's incredibly frustrating when you lose a game – and it's even more frustrating when it's not even close because you have a short window to do this as a professional athlete.”
Fandom can last forever, but athletic careers, especially in the NFL, are fleeting – and Van Roten punctuated his last point by noting that whether you’re a 22-year-old rookie or a 30-year-old veteran like himself, nothing is guaranteed, and tomorrow may never come.
“As frustrated as the fans are, I understand that, but I'm way more frustrated than you are because this is a year of my playing life that's not going the way that you want it to go,” Van Roten said. “Dealing with that, you allow yourself to do your job and this is what you get paid to do, so you've got to find a way to stay positive, block out that noise, and just play a good game the next time you get to go out there. Because, eventually, there's not going to be a next time.”
And, as Avery Williamson noted in his weekly appearance on Joe & Evan, you never even know when any teammate will be gone, like now ex-Jet Steve McLendon, who was shipped to Tampa Bay Sunday night.
“That was definitely a shock…but that’s the nature of the business,” Williamson had said. “You can’t control the decisions that are made upstairs.”
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