Oday Aboushi sure is carrying a lot of flags into his budding NFL career. Not only is the Jets’ fifth-round pick a true rarity as a born-and-raised Brooklynite playing pro football, but Aboushi also is one of just a handful of Palestinian-Americans ever drafted into the league — and a practicing Muslim who speaks fluent Arabic, to boot. “I have a lot of things to be proud of and a lot of people to represent,” the offensive tackle out of Virginia said yesterday after the second day of the Jets’ three-day rookie minicamp. “You definitely feel a sense of responsibility, but it’s a good thing.” Aboushi’s diverse skills as a blocker — not his richly diverse background — are why he is in Florham Park sweating through workouts with his fellows NFL newcomers, however. Although the 6-foot-5, 310-pound prospect’s primary focus appears to be challenging veteran Austin Howard at right tackle this fall, Aboushi also is capable of flipping over to left tackle in an emergency and can provide depth at either guard spot. That’s known as a “swingman” in football parlance, and it’s a utility sorely lacking for the Jets in the last few years of general manager Mike Tannenbaum’s reign. Jets coach Rex Ryan didn’t exactly go out of his way to praise Aboushi after the first two days of the minicamp, but at least he mentioned him by name — which is a start. “It’s a good-looking group, and there’s some players in that group,” Ryan said of Aboushi and the Jets’ two other offensive-line draft picks, Brian Winters and Will Campbell. “Oday looks pretty good.” Just the fact Aboushi is in an NFL camp, much less as a mid-round draft pick, is remarkable in light of his background. The ninth of 10 children born to Palestinian immigrants, Aboushi grew up in Sunset Park, Brooklyn — not exactly a football hotbed — before his family moved to Staten Island when he was 12, although Aboushi commuted to Xaverian High School in Bay Ridge through graduation. Although a handful of Palestinian-Americans have come before him in the NFL, most notably Tarek Saleh of the Browns and Panthers, Aboushi’s ascendance into the league is a source of pride being closely watched in that community.
Aboushi likes being role model
New York Post | May 12