Miguel Maysonet arrived in Cincinnati on Monday night, anxious to prove to yet another team that he deserved a shot. But within minutes of getting off the plane, his NFL journey was rerouted again.
Around 7:30 p.m., when he landed in Ohio, the Jets called Maysonet. They were interested. And they had a spot on the practice squad waiting for him.
"It was a New York area code, so I knew it was either going to be the Jets or the Giants,'' Maysonet told Newsday by phone Tuesday. "And they said they wanted to bring me in to sign me.''
So instead of working out for the Bengals the next morning, the former Stony Brook running back was on a plane back to the Tri-State area Tuesday morning. Within hours, Maysonet had signed with the Jets' practice squad.
His long, winding road has brought him to Florham Park, his fifth destination since going undrafted six months ago. The Riverhead product has spent time on the rosters of the Eagles, Browns, Colts and Chargers, and it's unclear how long the 5-9, 200-pounder will last in New Jersey.
"I don't know, I don't know,'' he said, adding with a chuckle: "I've been only sticking around on these teams for a week. So if I stick around for 10 days, that'll be my longest stretch with a team. Hopefully, I'll be able to stay around for a while.''
Maysonet, 23, was the first Stony Brook player ever invited to the NFL combine, but a "significant'' hamstring tear kept him from running the 40-yard dash. A month later, he impressed the 25 teams attending his pro day and he worked out for the Patriots, Jets and Giants in the weeks ahead.
But the three-day draft came and went without being called. Since then, he's bounced around the league, spending time on both coasts looking for a permanent spot.
"It's tough being on the practice squad because you're mimicking the other team's players, so it's hard to show them what you can do,'' said Maysonet, who last year was a runner-up for the Walter Payton Award as outstanding player in the Football Championship Subdivision after rushing for 1,964 yards and scoring 23 touchdowns. "But the one thing you can show them is effort and that you're trying to help out the team by giving them the best looks.''
The Eagles signed him as a free agent after the draft but released him less than a month later. The Browns claimed him off waivers May 21 but released him in August. Two weeks later, he was signed to the Colts' practice squad, but was cut 10 days later. Then he spent only nine days on the Chargers' practice squad.
Stops in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Indianapolis and San Diego haven't shaken his resolve. The Puerto Rico native knows all about setbacks, having grown up in a condemned apartment above an auto repair shop in Riverhead with his mother and two brothers, surrounded by drugs and crime. So he isn't focused on the disappointing NFL start. Instead, he remains optimistic this will be his final stop.
"I've spoken to a lot of guys and a lot of them tell me how they bounced around from team to team, so I figured it was just something that happened to an undrafted free-agent rookie,'' he said. "I figured, if I'm going to do this, I'm going to stick it out for the long run and try to make the team.''