Two weeks after the NFL team released the 2007 graduate of West High, Arukwe has been called back to join the Jets’ practice team.
Arukwe, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound wide receiver, joined the Jets in the second week of the preseason and played on special teams against the Giants on Aug. 18 and the Panthers on Aug. 26.
The Jets waived the 23-year-old Arukwe on Aug. 27, when they cut their roster from 90 players to 75, but recalled him Tuesday, Sept. 11.
The team confirmed on Twitter the following day that Arukwe was signed to the team’s practice squad and that Royce Pollard, another rookie wide receiver, was being released.
“I just made a good impression on the coaches in the time I was here,” Arukwe said Wednesday.
Now his role is to be as competitive as possible as he secures his own place on the team and strives to meet the expectations of his teammates as they come off a 48-28 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, Sept. 9. They play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, Sept. 16.
Arukwe expects the practice and workout environment during the regular season to be just as intense as in the preseason, when everyone was vying for a spot on the team.
“Every day, we’ve got to compete against each other,” he said. “Everyone is trying to get better and make everyone else better.”
Local coach and trainer John Harvey, who has worked with Arukwe since he was a football and track and field athlete at West, said the pair had restarted their training routine when Arukwe got the call from the Jets on Tuesday. Arukwe caught a plane to New York on Tuesday afternoon.
“We had a good feeling they would bring him back,” Harvey said.
He pointed out that even the other rookies had a summer of training experience with the team, while Arukwe joined after the preseason started.
“He did well,” Harvey said, “but he was a little raw.”
Arukwe said he would take on the roles of wide receiver and defensive back and work with special teams during workouts at Florham Park in New Jersey.
“Now I’ve just got to play hard with everything I do,” Arukwe said. “I’ll just get better as a player to try to get on the active roster for this year or for next year.”
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.