Hank Poteat distracts Eagles WR Hank Baskett.
Hank Poteat had a fascinating 2006 season. The veteran cornerback swirled through a transaction tornado in the late summer and early fall as the Jets and the Patriots were responsible for six combined Poteat signings and releases between August and October alone.
"You understand that it's part of the business, and you hear a lot of different stories when you come into the league," said Poteat. "As a player, you never expect that it's going to be you. That is what happens and you just have to continue to be ready. It is all about being patient."
When the dust finally settled, Poteat found himself back in a Jets uniform for a week six meeting with the Dolphins and contributed a fourth quarter tackle. Over the next four contests, Poteat was limited to just two tackles as he got acclimated to the defense.
With a little work and persistence, Poteat was embedded in the secondary for the Green & White's late season run into the postseason.
"Hank is a guy who has had a few travels but no matter where he shows up, when he gets there, he's ready to work." head coach Eric Mangini said. "He is a good example of when opportunity comes, being able to take advantage of it. I think that is the best approach."
Poteat started at cornerback in each of the Jets' final six games of the season. New York's AFC representative won five of those contests, holding opponents to just 13 points per game. Poteat's experience and knowledge of the game were crucial for the defense in that successful run.
"One of the things that I've always liked about Hank is his toughness, his competitiveness, and his professionalism," said Mangini. "He is one of these guys that works as hard as he possibly can, does exactly what you ask him to do, competes like crazy and cares. He has filled a lot of roles. "
In the Jets' December win over Green Bay at Lambeau Field, Poteat tied a personal career-high with seven tackles. A couple of weeks later in Minnesota, Poteat finished with six solo tackles during a 26-13 triumph.
During that final stretch, he accounted for 29 total tackles, three passes defended and a fumble recovery that came in the Jets' 23-3 win over Oakland to clinch a playoff berth.
"He was always a guy that would go in and do what you asked him to do," said Mangini, who coached Poteat in New England as well. "He has always taken the coaching and that is a real strength of his."