Where Are They Now

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Where Are They Now: Anthony Becht

Catch Up with the Jets Legend from the 2000 Draft Class

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It hadn't happened before, and it hasn't happened since

The Jets monopolized the 2000 NFL Draft by having not one, not two, not three, but four first-round picks.

Besides its own, New York received two of the selections in a trade that sent wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson to Tampa Bay. The other pick was acquired from New England as compensation for coach Bill Belichick.

With the four choices, the Jets picked up defensive ends Shaun Ellis and John Abraham, quarterback Chad Pennington, and Anthony Becht, a tight end from West Virginia, who was selected 27th overall.

"It was exciting to be part of something historic," Becht said. "I had a good feeling that the Jets were the team that was going to pick me, but I wasn't sure where I'd land in one of those four picks. And being the last pick of the four that they had, obviously there was a little tension and nervousness. The unique story behind it was, I never got a call prior to getting picked by them. So, when the world knew, I knew."

Once in training camp, Becht knew he wouldn't have to look far for some valuable advice.

"Fred Baxter was the veteran tight end on the team, and he had the locker right next to me," Becht said. "I was with him throughout the day in position group meetings and on the field. He was just a blue-collar kind of guy, very professional in the meeting room, very sound in technique, someone that I could learn from and understand what it takes to be a pro.

"And (with veteran quarterback) Vinny (Testaverde), it was a lot of the same. Off the field, helping you become an adult, kind of a father figure almost. Anything you want to ask him to kind of help you day-to-day. I think he was going into his 13th season at that time, so just a lot of experience there on and off the field that I was able to gather."

After spending his rookie season playing under head coach Al Groh, in 2001, Becht and his teammates were introduced to a new head coach, Herm Edwards.

"It was Herm's first head coaching deal and he was learning as we were trying to learn and grow from him. He was able to get the guys to play at a high level. We had to a very good team; a young team mixed with good veterans," Becht said.

"I think from my standpoint, anytime you get a new head coach, a new GM, they're obviously not the guys that drafted you and you constantly want to try to prove yourself and make sure that you fit their system and they can win with you."

During Becht's four seasons under Edwards, the Jets did indeed win. Making the playoffs three times, they advanced to the second round twice.

"We had quality draft classes that came in and was able to grow and play early and really feature themselves on both sides of the ball," Becht said. "We had some veteran players that had been there for a long time. They had some ups and downs but had some success. I think those pieces mixed together helped galvanize the team and make them a perennial kind of power. It was a tough division, a lot of rivalry games. And as those years went on from my rookie year to my fifth season in 2004, we kind of really plateaued and reached the point where we thought we were pretty good."

In 2005, Becht signed as a free agent with Tampa Bay. And after three seasons with the Buccaneers, he concluded his 12-year career by playing one season each with the then-St. Louis Rams, Arizona and Kansas City.

What sets the Green & White fans apart from the others?

"I think the number one thing is they pretty much let you know how they feel at all times," Becht said. "When it's going bad, they're going to let you hear it. When it's going good, there's no better fanbase to have behind you. I always thought that if you had success in New York, then that was kind of your golden ticket to the most exciting city in the world.

"I loved playing there. I made so many connections and they really do understand and know their players and the past. A lot of folks come up to me all the time, they still remember me and when I played. They're very into their sports teams even though there's so many different teams. The Giants were able to win a couple championships while I was still playing, and those guys were kind of kings of the city. So, that was always something to pursue."

Becht began to mull over what he'd pursue as a second career while winding down his playing days and participated in the NFL Player Engagement's Broadcast Bootcamp at NFL Films in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey.

"I think it was something that I just took to," Becht said. "They put you through the full gamut. You called a game off of a television screen with a play-by-play announcer, you did some studio desk work. Every network was there positioned to teach, help, and really rub elbows with. I kind of hit those guys back up (after I retired) and was able to start my adventure towards sports media. It was definitely something that I thought would be a good avenue for me."

Since 2013, Becht has worked as a college football game analyst for ESPN.

"The one thing about calling games on Saturdays for college football is it's very similar to preparation as a football player during the season for a game. Watching the films, studying, understanding, knowing the players, knowing a little about the past, kind of putting it all together so that on game day when we call a game, you really feel good," said Becht, who shares the booth with Beth Mowins and Rocky Boiman.

"I love going to stadiums, the college environment, the fans, seeing some of the best teams in the country. Clearly, there's an art to it and I feel like over the years I've been able to put it together and really kind of become good at it. And I'm proud of that."

Becht can also be proud of the NFL broadcast work he does for the Jets. He and Eric Allen co-host Pregame Central, presented by Pepsi, which airs on the team's digital and social platforms two hours before kickoff.

"I love the combination," said Becht, who also appears regularly on the Jets' website show, Game Review. "Obviously in the NFL, there's not a lot of turnover. We all know the players, the teams, the details and the things from the week before.

"In college, there's constant turnover, 100 different kids every single week. You're not stuck in the same conference, you don't have the same teams, so you're really learning something new every week."

Making his home in Tampa, Florida, Becht and his wife, DeeAnn, have two children: Rocco, 16; and Olivia, 15.

For the past five years, in addition to broadcasting, Becht has also worked with the Players Trust powered by the NFLPA. Earlier this month, however, he became the Southeast Community Coordinator for NFL Legends.

"Our goal is to help former players. Whether they just retired from the league, or they're waiting for teams to call them back and they're not quite sure, or they're the guy that's been out of football for 15, 20 years. We have programs and things that we can offer to help these guys," Becht said.

"The toughest thing is getting some of these former players to buy into these things because there was a long time when maybe they weren't featured as much as they are now. But the truth being is that there's a lot of opportunity for them. It's important to make sure that one player at a time, we can get this information to them, and they know what's out there that can help them succeed in whatever avenue they want to go."

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