Dwight lines up for the snap
After nine NFL seasons, Tim Dwight still has a passion for football even as he prepares for the end of his playing career.
The 31-year-old Dwight, a 5'8", 180-pound wide receiver, signed with the Jets in March 2006. He played in nine games before his first season in green and white was cut short by a foot injury. With this year's OTAs under way in Hempstead, Dwight feels good about where he is physically.
"I think I am going to be back," Dwight told newyorkjets.com. "It's just going out there and competing against these younger guys who are coming in and the guys that are here. I have a little bit more knowledge and experience and that definitely helps. These kids coming in are all fast as hell. I still have some good speed, but you have to compete."
In his younger days, Dwight was known to be quite the burner. He was a two-sport star at the University of Iowa, finishing seventh in the Heisman Trophy balloting back in 1997 and, as a track phenom, being named "Athlete of the Meet" at the 1999 Big Ten Championships.
Now, far removed from historic Kinnick Stadium, Dwight is happy to mentor some of the Jets' younger players.
"It's all about getting guys on the same page," he said. "If you have some young kid coming in and some things you can help him out with — not just with football but the way your lifestyle should be outside of football — it is going to help your team that much more. There is a reason why I have been playing hopefully 10 years. You try to pass that on down to guys where you want them to play 10 years."
At an OTA practice last week, for example, Dwight attempted to reassure Leon Washington when the young running back was asked to field punts. Last year as a rookie, Washington was nervous when summoned for punt duty because he didn't want to make a mistake and run a penalty lap, losing reps in the process.
"I was like, 'Leon, you've already been here a year. You're going to go out there tomorrow and feel like you've been doing it at Florida State and high school.' " Dwight said. "After today's practice, Leon was like, 'TD, you were so right, man. I felt so comfortable out there — like I was the older guy teaching these guys.' "
Dwight possesses excellent intangibles. He extends himself for his teammates at Weeb Ewbank Hall and then he leaves the team's complex and heads for Manhattan. He is the only player on the team who resides in the city.
"It's New York City, man," he said when asked why he chooses the reverse commute from the Big Apple to Long Island. "You have restaurants. There are all these parks all over — Central Park is fantastic when people visit. You can go to Broadway shows, you can see great little concerts, and there are jazz clubs. You name it and you can get involved in anything. But you have to be a little careful — I wouldn't suggest it for a rookie coming out of college."
Just because he is from Iowa, it would be wrong to assume Dwight is a farm boy. The Iowa City native owns property in his home state as well as in Hawaii and San Diego, and he will likely soon purchase in New York. He owns a convenience store and yoga studio in his hometown, and he is in the development business.
"I have a development company, too," he said. "We build homes and now we are getting into building commercial buildings."
He is excited about his latest project, a Las Vegas condominium that will be north of the Stratosphere between the Strip and downtown.
"It's a living condo unit that you don't see in Vegas," he said. "It's going to be really, really funky. I think they're trying to build a downtown living area like a SoHo. We are actually trying to be the first pioneers to try and change all that. It's going to be a lot of fun the next 10 years."
After signing his first big-money contract with the San Diego Chargers in 2001, Dwight decided to give business a try.
"My dad was a teacher and my mom was a secretary, so I had no business background. I knew nothing about the stock market and knew nothing about real estate transactions or any of that stuff," he said. "I kind of learned that as I have gone now. I still have a lot to learn, but I have certain people in place that I trust that keep me up to speed."
Dwight loves buildings so much that he wants to design them. When he walks down the street in Manhattan, his cellphone is readily accessible for photographs.
"I like designing stuff. I want to go to architecture school when I'm done playing, I've already decided," he said. "I will look at a building and sit there and take pictures of it and see what they've done and why they have built it this way and what kind of living space they built and what you can do to it."
If all that isn't enough to keep him busy, the former fourth-round draft selection plans on participating in triathlons once he hangs up the cleats.
"It's neat to have those changes where you swim, then you get on a bike, and then you go run," he said. "That is just a neat challenge in itself, let alone competing against other competitors."
But that will have to wait. He is getting ready for another season, another campaign to reach one decade in the NFL. Timmy Dwight, who has 186 receptions and five return touchdowns in his career, is set to enjoy this final stage.
"I still love this game, I still love the job and it's fun. But I know there are other things out there in life that I want to do," he said. "I'm not saying I'm tired of football, but I am getting close and I'm getting ready to start another life. ... There are more things in life than being there on Sunday."