Seven days ago
Four days ago he played in his first NFL game.
To say the last week of Sapp’s life has been memorable would certainly be an understatement.
“It’s been great,” Sapp said this afternoon inside the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center locker room. “It’s been a blessing just to have the opportunity to be here. To finally get called up, it was awesome. I’m just excited to have the opportunity to get on the field and help out the team as much as possible.”
When Sapp was first informed he would be signed to the active roster, he called his mother and godmother. The 6”4’, 252-pound linebacker had spent a majority of the season on the Jets’ practice squad. From his perspective, nothing has changed and what he appreciates is that everyone inside the locker room keeps a strong sense of unity regardless of an individual's roster status.
“Practice squad, active roster, we’re all one family,” he said. “It’s been the same. Coming to work, doing the things I’ve been doing, looking up to the other guys and getting some advice from them.”
Although the Jets lost at Seattle in Sapp’s debut, the experience for him was gratifying.
“To finally play in my first season game, it was awesome,” he said. “It just felt great to be a part of that and be out there with those guys.”
The former Clemson Tiger admitted he experienced some nerves before the game, but added that he also felt excitement.
“It’s everything I thought it would be, it’s everything I dreamed it would be," he said. "And man, I’m just so thankful to have the opportunity to play. I want to go out my next game and just build from the last game and put together some plays.”
At Seattle he was on the field for 13 defensive plays and six plays on special teams. He acknowledged that the coaches had told him he was going to participate in the game, but they didn’t give an indication about how many plays.
Head coach Rex Ryan stated Wednesday at his news conference that he was encouraged by what Sapp brought to the field against Seattle and what he shows on the practice field on a daily basis. The team made the decision to release fellow linebacker Aaron Maybin on Tuesday and Sapp described Maybin as someone he looked up to from the moment he arrived in Florham Park.
“I love Maybin,” Sapp said, “and I hope that me and him, we stay in touch. I’m just going to take everything that I got from him and go out there and try to make some big plays.”
No. 55 for the Green & White thinks what people should remember most about Maybin is the work ethic he carried whenever he stepped onto the gridiron.
“One thing about Maybin was that he had a high motor,” Sapp said. “Everybody knew that about him. He never stopped going and he always worked hard.”
As the Jets will try to snap their three-game losing streak Sunday in St. Louis, Sapp is hoping to continue progressing from what easily could be the most thrilling week of his life. From watching game video, he’s noticed that the Rams display intensity and go hard all four quarters. He hopes he and his Jets teammates show that same type of intensity in what should be a fun atmosphere at the Edward Jones Dome.
“I think every week is a must-win,” he said. “But we’re just going to approach it like any other game and go out there and play hard and go for the win.”