Last offseason, Austin Seferian-Jenkins turned both his life and his NFL career around by getting sober. A second-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014, Seferian-Jenkins struggled during the first three years of his career on the field (45 catches for 603 yards and seven touchdowns) and with alcoholism. Seferian-Jenkins was cited for one DUI in college and another in the NFL, the second of which resulted in his being released by the Bucs. He later caught on with the Jets -- before signing with the Jaguars this offseason -- and, last summer, opened up about seeking help to overcome his alcohol addiction.
Now, he's paying it forward. According to the New York Daily News, Seferian-Jenkins is helping former teammate Dylan Donahue, a fifth-round pick of the Jets in 2017, overcome the same issues. Donahue was arrested in February after driving the wrong way in the Lincoln Tunnel and injuring four people when he collided with a bus. The arrest was his second DUI inside of a year.
After Seferian-Jenkins heard about it, he called Donahue and offered to help.
"It was a natural thing," Seferian-Jenkins told the Daily News. "I think the world of Dylan and the way he plays the game and the type of character he has. People make mistakes. It happens as you grow up. You can't cross them off because they made a couple mistakes. I've definitely had my fair share of incidents. Everyone has a different story, but we're all searching for the same thing: Peace and clarity. I think that's what he's doing. He's really attacked it hard."
Donahue, for his part, said Seferian-Jenkins has been a big help, particularly while Donahue spent 30 days in a treatment center. "We were connected," Donahue said. "He had nothing but good things to say and helpful things to say. He actually helped a lot. Seeing someone else do it, especially someone on the same team as you, that definitely built my confidence."
For Seferian-Jenkins, the important part of being able to help Donahue is that he's fond of his former teammate as a person, not just a player.
"Forget about the football stuff," Seferian-Jenkins said. "He's just a really good person. You would hate to see such a good person go down a road that I've been down and begin to tumble. Some people never get back on that positive road. And then it's a sad story. But I believe in Dylan. I know that he can do those things. That's what I told him: I really do believe in you. All that other football stuff will come if you progress as a man."
Seferian-Jenkins was one of the best stories of last season as he turned his life around off the field and finally made progress on it (50 catches for 357 yards and three touchdowns), and it's nice to see that he now has the motivation to help other players overcome the same demons that plagued him early on.