When one door closes, another one opens.
In Scott Mersereau's case, the doors were 3,000 miles apart, and the one that was ajar was just over an hour's drive from his hometown on Long Island.
Drafted in the fifth round out of Division II Southern Connecticut State by the Los Angeles Rams in 1987, the defensive tackle was one of the last players released before the season got underway.
"I was disheartened and came back to New York, and then I got a call from the Jets to come do a workout. And then the (24-day player's) strike hit," Mersereau said. "The Jets said, 'You have a choice. You could wait until the strike is over and then we'll make a decision on you, or you could come in during the strike and you can show us what you have and try and take a position.' And I chose the latter.
"So I played, as did a number of other players from the Jets that had crossed over (the picket line), and that's what sealed the deal for me, I guess, my time playing during those three (replacement) games.
"(Veteran defensive ends Marty Lyons and Mark Gastineau) had crossed. In those times, obviously, the money wasn't what it is today. There were no guaranteed contracts and what was described to me was, 'I'm all for the union, but I'm losing money here.'
"For me, I just wanted to make the team. And it looked like that was the path for me to do it. I wish it wasn't that way, but it was, and it worked out for me."
The following season, Mersereau stepped in between Lyons and Gastineau, and became the starting nose tackle, replacing 12th-year veteran and two-time All Pro Joe Klecko, who had been slowed by knee injuries, released, and signed by Indianapolis.
"Joe was amazing, and, really, I don't know why he's not in the Hall of Fame. So I was never going to fill his shoes," Mersereau said. "There's a lot of things that have to fall into place. There has to be a luck factor. And for me, that was a luck factor where there was a position of need for the Jets at nose tackle given that Joe was hurt. So that was just fortunate for me. And it worked out well, me being from Long Island and my parents being able to go to the games, that was special."
Mersereau may have been raised in the Long Island town of Riverhead, but his blood wasn't tinted Green & White. Initially.
"To be honest, I was a Giants fan. I loved the Giants' defense. I loved Bill Parcells. Even when they were not good back in those days, I still loved them. But, of course, once I became a Jet, then naturally, I hated the Giants," Mersereau laughed.
Okay, so clearly not fond of the Giants, Mersereau was with the Jets for seven seasons, 1987-93, and played in 102 games with 91 starts. He collected 19 sacks and three interceptions.
"When I got to the Jets, all these guys had gone to USC or Ohio State or Miami, and so on, and you had to prove yourself," Mersereau said. "So that's what I'm most proud of, that I was able to compete and play at a relatively high level against all these guys that went to these bigger schools and had better training than what I experienced where I went to school.
"The seven years I had, my family and my friends were able to go to a lot of those games, that was really special to me. And, of course, all the relationships I had with players, I still have a lot of those relationships today. The coaches, I had a great relationship with them, as well. I look fondly back on all those times."
Unfortunately, one of those times was truly devastating. It occurred during a November 29, 1992 game against Kansas City, when Mersereau and defensive end Dennis Byrd convened on Chiefs quarterback Dave Krieg in the backfield. They collided and Byrd suffered immediate paralysis.
Through surgeries, rehabilitation, and prayers, Byrd eventually regained the ability to walk. And on October 28, 2012, the Jets retired his jersey No. 90 during halftime of a game against Miami.
"It's just a horrible, horrible, horrible thing. The only positive in it for me was that when they retired his jersey, they asked me to come and introduce Dennis, which I did. And one thing I said was when I went to the hospital to see him for the first time, he's lying in the bed and he's paralyzed, and he sees me and the first thing he said was, 'Mers, me and [his wife] Ang, we've been so worried about you,'" Mersereau said.
"I was like, 'What?!? What are you talking about? You're worried about me? You've got to be kidding me. I'm walking. I'm fine. And you're worried about me?' I'd like to think that would have been my first words. I'm not so sure they would have been. But he said that he was worried about me! That's the kind of guy that he was.
"And then, I guess in a way, as crazy as it sounds, good fortune hit when Hurricane Sandy hit that evening. We were stuck at the hotel, Dennis' family and my family. And so we spent three or four days together because you couldn't fly out.
"I got to spend a lot of good time with Dennis. That was the great thing for me, that we were able to develop a relationship from there. We spent all day together just talking. We hadn't had a lot of contact for his reasons he had, and nobody can judge that. So this was a time where it was just him and me and our families. And it was a hurricane! It was a freak of nature that happened that let that occur. That's a great memory I have of him."
Byrd passed because of a car accident on October 15, 2016.
Mersereau and his wife, Heather, make their home in Boca Raton, Florida, with their four children: Justin, Dylan, Haylee, and Hayden. For the past 24 years, he has worked as an investment advisor, and is with National Securities.
"Finance is what I had a degree in in college. I always liked numbers. I always liked breaking down numbers, economics, I always had an interest in that. I've been very fortunate to go into this field. I live in an area of high wealth, and so it's been a good fit as far as this career has gone," Mersereau said.
"I enjoy helping people achieve their goals for retirement. To have enough income to live on. That they can sleep at night knowing that their portfolios are safe and they're going to grow and be there for them. Just helping people navigate through these turbulent markets that we have; it gives me a sense of pride."