Greg Salas has learned never to assume.
Life often is unpredictable, but even more so for a fourth-year receiver who's trying to find a permanent home in the NFL.
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After stints in New England, Philadelphia and now Florham Park, the 25-year-old now finds himself in another race for a roster spot. And while he doesn't have a flashy name or eye-popping pro statistics, Salas possesses two qualities you can't teach wide receivers: confidence and good hands.
He's expected to make the first wave of cuts -- all NFL teams must trim their rosters to 75 players by 4 p.m. Tuesday -- but even Salas isn't sure whether he'll make it on the 53-man roster.
"Personally, I'm happy with what I've done," said the 6-2 receiver, who easily walked in an 11-yard touchdown pass from Matt Simms in the fourth quarter of Friday night's 35-24 loss to the Giants. "I'm not satisfied, by any means. But I think I've definitely put my best foot forward in camp."
Salas opened eyes during the Green and White scrimmage earlier this month in Cortland. He caught five passes for 54 yards, including a 14-yard reception from Michael Vick that Salas reeled in in mid-air.
But the former Hawaii standout knows he's not guaranteed a final spot with the Jets, a team that is stacked at the receiver spot. Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley and David Nelson are locks to make the team, but there's also the erratic but athletic Stephen Hill, draft-picks Quincy Enunwa and Jalen Saunders, Clyde Gates and Jacoby Ford.
And there's a chance Salas could get lost in the shuffle of a crowded receiver corps. "That's not up to me to decide," he told Newsday. "It's totally up to the GM [general manager John Idzik] and the coaches and however they see fit [to assemble] the 53-man roster. So I'm just trying to make the best case I can for them to keep me on."
He thought he had done enough last offseason to stick around with the Eagles. But Salas wound up on the practice squad last offseason. The Jets snatched him up in October and he caught two passes for 57 yards in his Jets' debut -- a 26-20 win over New Orleans on Nov. 3.
Asked about Salas last week, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg raved about the receiver. "We don't care about [big] names. We only care about the play and the production and how a man can help our football team. I know that I trust Salas an awful lot," Mornhinweg said.
"He came in and he was here a very brief time and helped us win a couple ballgames last year," Mornhinweg added of Salas, who finished the season with eight catches for 143 yards. "[He] has performed at a high level and on a consistent basis as well, and so that's certainly what we're looking for. He has sure hands, he does everything right, typically, and he's a talented guy."
Salas said there's a "huge difference in comfort level" after having been in Mornhinweg's system for several months. And it shows in his play.
"I feel 100 times more comfortable than I did last year," he said. "I feel like I can play every position here, I know the plays really well, like the back of my hands."
But Salas also is not naïve.
He knows the NFL is a numbers game. And at any moment, he can be told his time in a Jet uniform is up.
"But I feel like this coaching staff and this GM are really about competition and really preach the best players will make the roster and will play," Salas told Newsday, just before leaving the Jets locker room. "And that's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to show them that I belong here and I can help the team win.
"I'm trying to be someone you don't want to give away."