The news that Mike Nugent has returned to the practice field for the Jets creates a quandary for Eric Mangini and staff. Do they stay with Jay Feely, who hit four field goals in Buffalo last week, or return Nugent to the job he held prior to a thigh injury in Week 1?
If they don't keep Feely, they'll be losing a kicker who achieved one of the rarest feats in football. His teammates actually like him. Rather than the stereotypical outsider kicker who is noticed only when he screws up, Feely's wormed his way into the hearts of the other Jets via his off-field interests.
“He’s got a lot of wisdom,” long snapper James Dearth said. “Politically, he knows a lot of information. He’s good at golf. He gives great feedback. He’s basically good at everything he does.”
That includes his investing skills. Feely, a licensed financial adviser, pulled his money out of the stock market 18 months ago. With the market performing like a field goal in a stiff wind, Feely's been sitting pretty. One can imagine one of the old E.F. Hutton commercials playing out in the Jets locker room as Feely lets loose his financial advice.
Sadly, it takes more than financial acumen for kickers to make it in the NFL. Feely is going to have to beat out Nugent on the field, not because he's outperforming the Dow. He's made just 75% of his field goals and Nugent always seems to get an extra look because the Jets wasted a second-round draft pick on him in 2005. If Nugent's healthy, Feely will face the same fate as a Lehman Brothers analyst. Given the state of our economy, perhaps an investment team, rather than a football one, will offer him a deal that lasts longer than eight weeks.