EAST HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. » It’s an oft-used cliché that "NFL" signifies "not for long," but for ex-Hawaii wide receiver Greg Salas, those words ring true.
Salas, 26, who played for the Warriors from 2007 to 2010, was a fourth-round pick of St. Louis in 2011, and it appeared he’d remain with the Rams at least for a few years. However, after one season there, he was traded to the New England Patriots for a fourth-round pick.
A few weeks later, the Patriots cut him and signed him to their practice squad. In November 2012, Salas was called up to the 53-man active roster, but he was cut again five days later, which is when Philadelphia acquired him off waivers. In August 2013, the Eagles released him and signed him to their practice squad before the Jets signed him last October.
Being a fourth-round pick and having signed a four-year contract with the Rams as a rookie, he never thought he’d be traded, much less end up on a practice squad. But as he quickly learned that’s just sometimes how things work out in the NFL.
"You come in as a draft pick and you think you’re going to be on the 53-man roster. It’s definitely a humbling experience," Salas said of being on the practice squad. "It teaches you how to work even harder for what you want. You have to have a lot of perseverance and you’ve got to keep pushing and you definitely can’t give up or quit. You’ve got to keep preparing like you’re going to be playing because at any moment, someone can get hurt and then you’re called up and you’ve got to know what you’re doing. Otherwise you miss out on the opportunity. Being on the practice squad is just a lot of hard work."
But now he’s in year two with the Jets, an organization he has settled into nicely and one where he has found a role that he hopes will allow him to stick around.
"My experience with the Jets has been great," Salas said. "It’s been amazing. They’re a first-class organization. I really love the coaching staff and the players here. It’s been a nice, pleasant experience for me."
Salas said the stability has been a nice change.
"Yeah, I definitely have seen the other side of the NFL for sure." he said. "I ended up bouncing around a little bit. Now that I’m in the same offense for two years, I’ve learned a lot in this offense. So it’s just nice to have some balance and some normalcy in football."
Salas spent part of his UH tenure playing for June Jones. He said he was sad to read the news that Jones had resigned as SMU’s head coach.
"He had a huge impact on me," Salas said. "Honestly, I might have been playing corner my whole entire career. He moved me to the offensive side of the ball because he liked what he saw on my highlight tape. So were it not for him, I might not have ever had the opportunity to play wide receiver at Hawaii, so my career could have gone a lot differently. Definitely grateful for what he has done for me."