Jace Amaro seemed taken aback by the question.
The crowd was anxious to hear how he’s handling the uncertainty of roster-cut week. But the Jets tight end insisted he hadn’t given it much thought.
A second-round pick in 2014, Amaro was billed as a potent pass-catcher by the previous Jets regime. But so far, he’s failed to live up to the hype in the NFL.
He’s recorded only 38 receptions for 345 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games. He spent last season on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.
But despite indications that his roster spot may be in jeopardy, Amaro seemed unfazed.
“I’ve never been worried about making the team or not making the team,” he said after the Jets’ 14-6 loss to the Eagles in their preseason finale. “I feel like I played well enough in OTAs and throughout training camp. I got injured last week and missed a couple of practices [because of a sore groin], but other than that I feel like I’ve been pretty consistent on the practice field.”
He had little impact Thursday night in Philly — a recurring theme for the Jets’ tight end group — finishing the game with three catches for 24 yards.
“I think I’ve done what they’ve asked me to do in the passing game,” said Amaro, a former star at Texas Tech who set an FBS record for yardage by a tight end with 1,352 on 106 receptions in 2013. “Obviously catching the ball out here is different than practice — I haven’t played in so long. Getting the ball and handling it, it’s just getting that back and getting the feel of it. I felt better out there today. I’ve never really been concerned about making the roster.”
During OTAs, Amaro told reporters: “I plan on getting involved at lot this season.” And in a training camp interview with Newsday three months later, he detailed why he cut out drinking, partying and late nights in favor of quiet evenings at home with his playbook. At the time, he acknowledged that he didn’t prepare himself “as well as I could have physically and mentally” as a rookie and that missing his second NFL season “probably was the best thing that happened to me” because it forced him to mature faster. He also described 2016 as “the year that everyone’s counting on me. This is supposed to be my breakout year.”
General manager Mike Maccagnan said on CBS Thursday night that the tight end group is “the most wide open” of any position on the roster, adding that there are “interesting decisions” ahead. After the game, head coach Todd Bowles was asked about Amaro’s training camp production. “He started out fine and then he got banged up a little bit,” he said. “He came out today and made a couple of catches here and there, but we have some tough choices to make.”
Bowles also gave no assurances about Amaro’s roster spot: “We will sit down and talk about it tomorrow.”