Sergio Castillo first got a taste of life in the NFL when he signed as a free-agent placekicker for the Atlanta Falcons in 2014. Kicking in the team's first preseason game, he converted on both of his field-goal attempts, but was released after the game.
Since then, Castillo has spent the six seasons in the CFL, the Alliance of American Football and the XFL perfecting his craft, before joining the Jets' practice squad in October. He was elevated to the active roster last month after K Sam Ficken sustained a groin injury.
"It happened really quickly," Castillo said. "It's been a journey to get here but I've been very fortunate the past five years that I've been kicking in the CFL. That's prepared me for these moments."
He added: "There's been a lot of people that have helped me along this road and I'm very grateful right now. My mind set — it doesn't matter if I'm on the practice roster or active, I'm going to find a way to help the team out. If I'm starting, I have to find ways to put points on the board, and if I'm on the practice squad I have to support the team vocally."
In the Green & White's challenging matchup against the Chiefs, the offense did not score a touchdown — a struggle throughout this season. Castillo converted three field goals, a fourth attempt, at the end of the first half, was blocked. Castillo's most impressive kick came early in the second quarter when he connected on a 55-yard FG, which is tied as the second-longest FG by a Jets' kicker since Jason Myers' 56-yarder in 2018.
"I was just trying to find a way to help the team out," Castillo said. "It didn't matter if it was the first one from 39 or from 55, I was just trying to focus on the process of my technique. I wanted to try and help the team as much as possible to put those three points up on the board."
Castillo will remain active as the Jets' kicker until Ficken returns from the injury that he sustained in Week 7. In two matchups, Castillo, 30, had made 4 of 5 FG attempts and 1 extra point.
"The fact that they signed me shows the confidence that they had in me," Castillo said. "Thomas [Hennessy] makes it super easy with the snaps and Braden [Mann] has been smooth on the holds, so it makes it easier for me. I don't have to worry about it being a bad snap or a bad hold, it's just 1, 2, 3 go. A lot of props to them too because they've made this transition easy for me. Coach [Brant] Boyer and Coach Hammer [Jeff Hammerschmidt] have had the confidence in me and given me the green light. I'm very grateful for the opportunity. It's been a long journey to get here — six years. I'm grateful for the moment I'm in and I'm just trying to find a way to put my part in for the team. If it's on the sideline or putting points on the board, I'm going to do it."