Jimmie Johnson was talking to his newest pupil, but he might as well have been staring at the man in the mirror. The Jets tight end coach saw promise in the person in front of him. There was something inherently good there. Someone worth helping. Johnson’s message to Austin Seferian-Jenkins 13 months ago was pure: Changing your body and mind will save your life. There was more to it, though. The coach knew the time was right to finally take ownership of his life, too. It had been two decades since Johnson finished a 10-year career as the longest of long shots, the 316th overall pick (12th round) of the 1989 NFL draft. But he no longer resembled the 252-pound tight end who became a champion in Washington. Johnson was 370 pounds. “I just told him that in order for him to be the player that I envisioned him being — and the player that a lot of people thought he could possibly be — he would have to lose weight,” Johnson said of his first conversation with Seferian-Jenkins. “He had to lose 20-25 pounds to give himself a chance to be successful. Having said that, I had been overweight for a number of years myself. I said I got to do the same thing. And I’m going to do it this year. So, we did this thing together.” They inspired each other, player and coach linked by a shared understanding that change was non-negotiable. Seferian-Jenkins, plagued by a drinking problem that had derailed his life, re-dedicated himself. He texted Johnson pictures of his metamorphosis this offseason. New diet, new outlook, new body, new Austin.
The man behind Jets TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins' transformation
New York Daily News | Oct 26