Ben Obomanu Puts His Fire, Fight on Display

He's been around the NFL for seven years, but unless you're a fantasy football guru or a fan of the Seattle Seahawks, chances are you don't know too much about Ben Obomanu.

It's "definitely fair," the veteran wide receiver says, to describe him as a player who has been flying under the radar since the Seahawks drafted him in the seventh round of the 2006 draft.

He's typically impressed the coaches enough to make the 53-man roster, but not quite enough to take the field with the starters on Sundays. In his career, he's caught 87 passes for 1,209 yards and seven touchdowns despite starting only 13 of his 66 games played.

The Seahawks released Obomanu in March and the Jets signed him in May. Now he's embracing the fresh start and hoping for an opportunity to change his label as a backup in the league.

"I felt like in Seattle I had a great time," he said, "but at the same time I want to be able to accomplish a lot more things instead of just being a special teams guy or just being a fill-in guy."

Albeit a small sample size, Obomanu is on track to reach his goal after an impressive preseason opener in Detroit, leading the team with four receptions and 59 receiving yards.

"I thought Ben on offense — Ben O — he stepped up and did some good things," head coach Rex Ryan said after the game.

Ben Obomanu knows that the amount of effort put in often goes unappreciated or even unnoticed. He called it "a blessing" to hear his head coach recognize his contributions after the game.

"I've learned from a lot of great people to have an impact on the game," he said. "Not just being present and having your number on the field, but to actually have an impact on the game. That feels pretty good to know that my hard work is not in vain."

Whether he made a major impact on the game or not, Ben's goal against Detroit was simply to show the coaches what he has to offer.

"A lot of people don't know me," he said. "I think a lot of people even in New York may not know me. But I want to show them that there's a lot of value in number 15."

In a catch-22 scenario, the only way for people to see what the wide receiver is capable of is if he makes the team, but he won't make the team if the coaches don't take notice of what he's able to do. Although he describes himself as quiet, he has developed a "fiery" personality to demand attention on the football field.

"I'm not really a buddy-buddy kind of guy," Obomanu said, "So sometimes people kind of take advantage of that a little bit, saying, 'We can get an extra chip shot on him,' or even from a team standpoint, 'We can just put Ben on the sidelines and not give him any reps.' "

But nobody puts Ben in a corner.

"Don't forget about me. Don't think I'm not paying attention. Don't think that I don't see who's doing what," he said. "Don't think that I don't want to play, or I don't have a fiery, fighting personality."

While he doesn't really have a feel for where he stands with the team's roster or depth chart decisions, he feels confident that he will make the 53-man squad.

"I'm going to do what I'm supposed to do," he said. "Regardless of the situation of who says what, I'm going to make sure that I take care of stuff on my end."

And so far in preseason, he has certainly taken care of his end.

"Before I retire, before I call it quits, I want to be able to see what could be," Obomanu said. "So that's kind of what this is, just an opportunity to see my potential, can I maximize my potential, can I play, can I actually be a consistent starter. So that's why I'm here."

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