In a race few anticipated, the backup tight end position has been one of the most hotly contested in camp. On Saturday night, Joe Kowalewski threw his name into the hat.
Kowalewski, who spent last season on the Jets practice squad, was off to an impressive start to training camp. However, a leg injury sidelined him for the majority of the preseason.
"I was out the first two weeks" Kowalewski said after Saturday night's game. "Two of the hardest weeks of my life. It was so hard, I was happy for my teammates, but it's so hard, so painful to watch. I watched the Atlanta game, but I couldn't even watch the whole game."
While Kowalewski rehabbed his injury, both Sean Ryan and Jason Pociask seized the opportunity during his absence and performed well.
First came Ryan's two touchdown outing against the Falcons. That was followed by a solid three catch, one touchdown, performance from Pociask a week ago.
Finally healthy, Kowalewski got his opportunity Saturday night, and made the most of it. Contributing three catches for twenty-seven yards and some excellent blocking.
"You have to fight" Kowalewski said. "You have to play your best each time because every time you're on that field it is a chance to do bad and lose it. It's a chance, but it's also an opportunity. You just have to take advantage and do your best, otherwise you could lose big time."
Kowalewski's play early in preseason drew praise from the coaching staff, but the injury hampered his ability to build on the early momentum, and has left him amongst a handful of players sitting on the fence for a roster spot.
A solid performance was needed to keep his chances for a roster spot alive, and that is precisely what he did.
However, if he doesn't make the regular roster, Kowaleski remains eligible for another stint on the practice team.