Victor Ochi has dreamed of suiting up on an NFL sideline ever since he started playing football at Valley Stream Central High School. It may have taken a little longer than planned, but on Sunday, Ochi will finally realize that dream.
The former Stony Brook star has been activated for Sunday’s game against the Ravens, the Jets announced.
The Jets also promoted linebacker Julian Stanford to the active roster. Linebacker Erin Henderson was placed in the Reserve-Non-Football injury/Illness list (undisclosed) and TE Braedon Bowman went on injured reserve with a torn ACL in his right knee.
Ochi, Stony Brook’s career leader in sacks (32 1/2) and tackles for loss (49), is the second Seawolf to appear on an NFL active roster. Will Tye made his NFL debut with the Giants last season at tight end.
It’s unclear how much the Jets plan to play Ochi on Sunday, though head coach Todd Bowles hinted during the week that there would be some changes on defense. The Jets currently rank 25th in scoring defense and 28th in pass defense.
“I kind of want to see how the matchups look later in the week,” Bowles said, though he didn’t offer specifics.
If Ochi does get onto the field, he would be doing so against the team that gave him his very first shot in the NFL this summer. The Ravens signed Ochi immediately after the draft ended in April, and he spent training camp learning how to play 3-4 outside linebacker after playing 4-3 defensive end in college.
The Ravens had a plethora of edge rushers ahead of Ochi on their depth chart, but Ochi still impressed coaches and teammates in training camp with his tireless work ethic.
“This guy, his motor’s running hot every play,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said of Ochi during training camp in August. “He’s coming off the ball, he’s trying to get to the quarterback, he’s chasing the run. We grade effort, and it’s very rare when he doesn’t get a plus for his effort.”
Ochi had five tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble in the preseason before being waived on Sept. 3 as part of roster cut-downs.
The Jets, who had hoped to sign Ochi after the draft, brought him in for a workout after he was waived, but he failed his initial physical because of a bruised right rotator cuff suffered in the Ravens’ preseason finale. However, the Jets had accidentally announced that he had signed to the practice squad because of a clerical error by the Jets’ public-relations team. He officially signed to the practice squad a week later after rehabbing the injury in Garden City.
With Kimberley A. Martin