Brandon Marshall is planning to mentor troubled tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and help turn him into the major addition the Jets are hoping he can be.
Seferian-Jenkins was cut by the Bucs over the weekend after he was arrested on a DUI charge. The Jets claimed the talented 23-year-old Monday. Marshall believes he can tap into the lessons of his own past — a DUI and a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder — and help the 2014 second-round pick reach his potential.
“I’ve been talking to Austin for a week now, even before this even happened,” Marshall said Tuesday. “When I saw what he was going through I reached out to him. We’ve been talking for a while. He is a great talent. When I heard yesterday we claimed him I was like ‘This is God sent. If he needs me, I am there. I’ve already connected him with the right people in the city if he needs them.
“Guys need second chances. When you make a mistake, it doesn’t mean you are a bad person. You need people to believe in you, and sometimes a fresh start is a good start.”
Mental health is a cause for Marshall, who was at A. Philip Randolph Campus High in Manhattan to represent the Jets at an assembly. The team gave $100,000 for the Public School Athletic League to recondition football helmets, launch Randolph’s fledgling football program and provide coaches with USA Football training. He also introduced the student body to a mental health training tool.
“It was important for me to make sure kids are in position to reach their full potential,’’ Marshall said. “If you look at my story, there’s a human impairment side of it where I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. I spent time at McLean Hospital (in Massachusetts) learning skills and tools to manage my emotions, to manage ebbs and flows of the football season.
“What I was going through was holding me back. If I had something in school, that could have been preventative, and intervened early, I would have not gone through the things I went through.”
The Seferian-Jenkins arrest produced an embarrassing police dashcam video that is on the Internet, and it is not his first such run-in. He also has a DUI arrest from 2013 when he was in college at Washington.
Asked if Seferian-Jenkins realizes that this second chance potentially could be his last because of Friday’s arrest, Marshall replied: “I’ll say this: we don’t know if those are his issues. I had a DUI before and you live and you learn. There’s a lot of people who make terrible decisions. It doesn’t make them terrible people.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s his last chance or not. It’s life. You make mistakes.”
Tight end has not been a relevant part of the offense for the Jets (1-2), who don’t have a reception from the position. But the 6-5, 262-pound Seferian-Jenkins is a catch-first tight end, with seven touchdowns in 18 games in two seasons.
“I think he will take advantage of this opportunity,” Marshall said. “He is still young and I am glad we got him.”