To be chosen during an NFL Draft typically only occurs once in a perspective player's life.
When the Jets made it happen for Illinois offensive lineman J.P. Machado in 1999, he experienced a wide range of emotions. Excitement, frustration, and surprise.
"I knew I wouldn't be a first-day guy, for sure. I thought I could possibly be a later round or a free agent," Machado said. "Once it got to the fifth round, I just kept waiting and waiting. And when it came to the sixth round, I thought maybe I'm not even going to go.
"Then I was just sitting there, and you get picked. So you're excited, but it's also kind of frustrating because you're just waiting to be called."
That it was the Jets who called, caught Machado a little off guard.
"It was a little bit surprising," he said. "I'd gone on a couple visits to Green Bay and to Tampa Bay, and my college coaches knew somebody from Carolina, so I thought maybe one of those three would pick me up.
"I just had a brief workout with the Jets' scout the last day that you were eligible to work out. I just thought it was kind of a formality and nothing would come of it. And then in the sixth round, they picked me."
In his first season with the Jets, Machado's head coach was Bill Parcells, who having also coached the cross-town Giants and New England, was in his 15th season as the boss. Leaving no question who was in charge.
"He was a player's coach, but he wasn't going to be your friend. He was a coach first, and once you understood that, then it wasn't too bad," Machado said. "I liked the fact that you always knew exactly where you stood. You might not like it, but there was no question. You didn't have to worry about being surprised with what he thought of you."
Granted, he played big time college football in the Big Ten, but, of course, it wasn't the NFL. And Machado's new teammates thought enough of the rookie to show him the ropes.
"All the veterans on the offensive line helped me out," Machado said. "I think just the nature of the O-line, having to work together, so much practice, they just kind of looked out for all of us."
After two seasons, Machado and all of his teammates were introduced to their new head coach, Herm Edwards.
"I didn't know what to expect because I obviously had never played for him or anything," Machado said. "But once you got going, I really liked him. He had a lot of enthusiasm. He was a positive guy. I thought he always wanted what was best for everybody. He was easy to play for."
Things didn't start off too easy for the Jets in 2002 when they began the season at 1-4. But Machado, making 12 starts at left guard, helped the Green & White turn things around and reach the second round of the playoffs for the first time in five years.
"Once we got rolling, it was a lot of fun," Machado said. "You know, when you're playing football, there's so much going on. You're in it, it's a lot of work, and it's competitive. And so you don't really have time to enjoy it."
While playing on special teams the following season, Machado had an opportunity to forget blocking and enjoy carrying the ball for a change, when he had an eight-yard kickoff return against New England.
"I don't think that they kicked it wrong or they kicked it to me on purpose, but it ended up coming right to me. I could only get eight yards before the guys on the kickoff team were already down on top of me. And then right after that, they took me out of the game. They didn't want them to kick it to me again," Machado laughed.
With no assurance he'd be on the team from one year to the next, Machado still was able to stay focused enough to perform solidly on special teams, as a backup on the offensive line, and as a one-time kick returner.
"You don't really have a choice. Maybe that's one of the reasons I was able to do it," Machado said. "I walked on in college and college was kind of the same situation for me. I felt like they were always looking for somebody else to play. I never really even became a starter until I was a senior.
"And when I got to the NFL, it was kind of the same thing, where I felt like they were always trying to find somebody to replace me. I didn't like it, but it didn't bother me as far as how I played. I could kind of just put it in the back of my mind. I was blessed to always do well enough in the preseason to outplay the guys that they brought in."
What makes Machado most proud of his career?
"The experience itself. I don't really think there's anything like that," he said. "And as you go through the rest of your life, it always follows you around. And for the most part, it's a very positive thing with people on the outside world, too. So just looking back on the whole experience, I think it was really something that was great.
"But I got to the end of five years, and my wife was pregnant with my son, and I just decided I had enough. I got some calls from other teams, but nothing was guaranteed. I just wasn't interested in going on any more. I knew it'd be more of the same as far as having to really battle to make the team. So I gave it up. But I was proud and blessed that I was never cut or had to travel around to look for a team.
"Going in, if you had told me I was going to make it five years, I would have thought that was fantastic. I thought I was destined to be cut after a couple days."
Making their home in suburban St. Louis, Machado and his wife, Stacie, have four children: Lilli, Xavier, Magnolia, and Rose. For the past 10 years, he has worked as a mechanical engineer for Boeing, the world's largest aerospace company.
"I'm on the military side, so like for the F-15. I look at the parts to make sure that they're strong enough. It's just a lot of math, to be honest with you," Machado said. "It's too expensive to just build it and test it, so we do all kinds of analysis using math and equations. And then once we get a rough idea of what it should be, they put it together.
"I just like the challenge of it. It's a lot of problem solving. You get a part, and there's no real map on how to do it. You kind of have to figure it out for yourself."