The New York Jets have a ton of unheralded stars on their 53-man roster in 2021.
One key member of the Gang Green special teams unit finally got some love this week from the national media.
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Gang Green Member Earns Prestigious Honor
With the MLB postseason races heating up as we reach the end of the regular season, a lot of us had the honor of watching something pretty historic this year.
Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels has been a unique weapon of mass destruction. Not only can he hit (led the majors in home runs for much of the season), but he also showed he can be a dominant pitcher.
That type of two-way dominance hasn’t been seen in baseball since the Babe Ruth days (1900s).
So it got some people in football thinking.
This week the panel of ESPN NFL Nation Reporters each hand-picked a player from each of the 32 franchises that either has the skills, background, or attitude to be a potential dual threat in the big leagues.
The player that was selected for the Jets was Justin Hardee.
An Amazing Story With a Hollywood Script
He signed a three-year, $6.75 million deal during free agency to be an ace on special teams.
Although interestingly enough he has a lot more versatility than people know.
On top of his prowess on special teams, he is also listed as a cornerback. During his career, he has played in 59 games and snagged an interception back in 2018.
Here’s one more thing you probably didn’t know, he actually “broke into the NFL as a wide receiver.”
Hardee was featured on the latest episode of 1 Jets Drive, a docuseries produced by the team in Hard Knocks-like fashion sporadically throughout the offseason and regular season.
In the clip above he talks about that reality check moment where his NFL career was at a crossroads.
Back during his time in college, he caught over 72 passes during his four seasons at Illinois for 841 yards.
Initially, he came into the league as an undrafted free agent as a receiver, but he quickly realized if he wanted to last in the NFL he would have to change positions.
When Hardee made that realization he became an ace for the Saints and developed a reputation “as a tenacious practice player and soon carved a niche on special teams.”
When this signing happened back in March it went completely under the radar. Hardee is used to being underrated, but Jets fans know how important he is to the equation.