Three weeks ago, Ryan Quigley was one of 14 players let go in the first wave of cuts, and Robert Malone appeared to have locked up his spot as the team's punter.
Eight days ago, Malone struck the second-longest punt in team history, 84 yards in the season-opening win over Tampa Bay.
Today, however, Malone was released and Quigley has returned. So goes life in the NFL.
"Super-excited," Quigley said of rejoining the Jets. "It's like getting the call after the draft when I was signed as a free agent. It's just an awesome feeling."
The training camp battle between Quigley and Malone "was a tight competition," head coach Rex Ryan said.
But in the third preseason game against the Giants, things changed. Quigley's longest of three punts was 39 yards, while Malone averaged 48 yards on his three attempts, pinning the G-Men inside the 20 on all three strikes.
"When I left," Quigley said, "I came off probably my worst game of the preseason and Rob had a great game. But I still was just really positive with how I felt punting the ball, I just kept improving, and I knew I was close. I felt like I was a top-32 guy, so you wait for your opportunity."
He respected the Jets' decision to go with the incumbent and remained confident.
"I wasn't bitter about it at all," he said. "I felt like I was hitting the ball well and it would only be a matter of time before that call came."
Upon his dismissal, Quigley headed home to North Myrtle Beach, S.C., found a field, found a weightroom, and continued to train, ensuring he'd be prepared when his phone did ring. The Buccaneers called first, but they didn't end up signing him. The Jets were the next call, and now he's back in his No. 1 green and white uniform.
"It's great to have him back," practice squad TE Chris Pantale said of his old Boston College roommate and close friend. "He's a great player."
Malone's inconsistency "bothered us," Rex said, prompting the roster move. "Let's face it, he had one of the best punts in Jets history in Week 1, but also some other ones where the hang time wasn't where we wanted it to be."
During Thursday night's loss in Foxboro, Mass., Malone pinned Tom Brady and the offense inside the 20 just once on nine punts. The Patriots starting field position on all drives on averaged was their 38-yard line, compared to the Jets' average drive start of their 22.
Through the first two games of the year, Malone averaged 46.3 yards per punt, with a net average of 37.1, on 16 punts, including three inside the 20 and two touchbacks.
"We do think Quigley gives us a little more consistency," Rex added.
A member of the Green & White organization since late last preseason, Malone tweeted:
Just wanted to say thank you to all jets fans and the organization. Its been a privilege playing for new york. We will miss it.