When Joe Mott was drafted by the Jets in 1989, it offered him the chance to play in the NFL, and his parents the chance to spend less time in their car traveling during football season.
"I'm from upstate New York [Endicott] and my parents, my senior year, they traveled to every game," Mott said. "They drove every weekend, whether it was home or it was away, bless them. And they absolutely loved it. They had dear friends who they would meet every weekend, my friends on the team and other players' families. And so my thought was, 'Oh, this is great. They'll only have to travel three hours or so instead of the usual 13 or 14 hours.'"
An All-Big Ten defensive end as a senior at Iowa, Mott was moved to linebacker and made his mark on special teams as a rookie with the Jets.
"Whether it's special teams, whether it's linebacker, you obviously want to play linebacker; you want to get in there and start," Mott said. "But a lot of times for young guys, that's not it. So the old adage, whatever I could do to help the team. Really, you hear that a lot and it's kind of a catchphrase, but honestly, it's true. That's what you do."
After going 4-12 in 1989, the Jets replaced their head coach Joe Walton with Bruce Coslet. But what intrigued Mott and others on the defense more was who Coslet brought with him to New York.
"In with Bruce Coslet came Pete Carroll and Monte Kiffin. Pete was the defensive coordinator. And Monte was the linebackers coach. So, that was that was interesting, and I mean that in a good way," Mott said.
"Pete was a character. Monte was a character. And Pete is still full of energy. And that's what you always got from Pete, energy, focus and enthusiasm. So it was whatever happens, you go along with it. But it was positive for us. They were good coaches, smart coaches. Good guys. And Monte, loved him as a coach. Loved Pete as a coach."
With a new defense in 1990, switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 formation, Mott had new responsibilities. While he was a standout special teams player as a rookie, he was now starting at left outside linebacker.
"It a bit of a different defense," Mott said. "And Alex Gordon, who had been there, they traded (to the Raiders). That really opened up the spot for me. So, hey, it was just exciting as hell, really. Just having that opportunity to get out there and play, be out there on the field."
In the final preseason game in 1991, the Jets beat Washington but lost Mott. Tearing his ACL, he was put on season-ending as well as time-as-a-Jet-ending Injured Reserve.
With New York for three years, two on the active roster, what's among the fondest memories from his time with the Green & White?
"We laughed a lot about Pete and Monte and them carrying on. The first year they were there, we were having two-a-days for a while, and probably three weeks in, you're getting to the point where you're hurting and everybody's miserable. Everyone's tired. And we had a team meeting one night like we usually do. The offense split off and the defense split off," Mott said.
"Pete gets up in the front of the defense, and just starts chewing our ass. Saying about what terrible practices we had. And then he goes specifically to Monte and says, 'Monte, in particular, your linebackers, they looked like hell today.' So Monte, he jumps up out of his chair and said, 'Screw you, Pete! I don't have to take this bullsh**!' And they start going toward one another like they're going to fight. And we're sitting back going, 'This is unbelievable!'
"So pretty soon, you know, 'I'll kick your ass.' 'No, I'll kick your ass.' And then one of them said, 'Why don't we go bowling? I'll kick your ass in bowling.' Then Monte goes, 'Do you guys want to watch film or do you want to go bowling?'
"That's when we knew it was a joke, and the whole team erupted. So we took film off that night and we all went bowling. It was just a great night. But that was those guys. They read the team well, knew when you needed a break. With those two guys, it was a lot of fun."
Making their home in Iowa City, Iowa, Mott and his wife, Shelly, the Executive Director of Development and Planned Giving for the Hoover Presidential Foundation, have three children.
"My daughter, Jenna, she's a nurse," Mott said. "She got married this past spring to Nick Niemann, who is in his second year with the Chargers. He's a linebacker, and he got an all-conference special teams award last year. He is having another good year playing special teams and waiting for his chance to play linebacker.
"My older boy, Chris, he's just graduating with a computer science engineering degree from Iowa and is going to start working for John Deere.
"And my younger boy, Brendan, he was a walk-on at Kansas State and earned his scholarship this fall. He started the whole year at defensive end, and one week he was the Defensive Player of the Week for the Big 12. They just beat TCU in the Big 12 Championship, so he had a tremendous year. Brendan's a junior, so he's got a senior year left and a COVID year if he wants."
For the past 20 years, Mott has worked in medical device sales, and is an area manager for MiMedx, responsible for the lower half of Iowa.
"We sell wound care products for chronic wounds, for diabetic foot ulcers and venous leg ulcers, difficult to heal wounds," Mott said. "There are people out there that are sick, they're diabetic, and they have these injuries that turn into chronic wounds. And if they don't get them healed, they can get infected, they can lose feet, they can lose legs.
"It's an excellent job because I interact with these patients every day. So I'm able to see how we progress these wounds and how we heal these wounds. And these can be debilitating, both physically and mentally for people.
"The product I sell is actually placental tissue, and it's by far the best on the market. These people would have these wounds for years, and they would finally come in and find out about this product and we heal them up. And it's just so incredibly rewarding working with the physicians, just helping these people in their lives. Extremely rewarding."