By William Bowman
The Daily Item
Daryl Kurtz admitted it has been a frustrating couple of weeks. But now he got the call and has his shot.
The former standout for the Milton High and Bloomsburg University football teams got a call late Thursday offering him a spot at the New York Jets rookie camp. So he rushed home from North Carolina, where he has been working out the last four months preparing for a future in the NFL, packed his bags and left for New Jersey.
By the time most of you read this, Kurtz will already have started his NFL career. How long that lasts, he said, will be up to him.
“It starts tomorrow (Friday) morning at 6:45, so I’m on my way now,” Kurtz said. “It’s been a frustrating couple of weeks, but I knew someone was going to give me a shot.”
Kurtz, a three-year starter at left tackle for the Huskies, has been training at the Velocity Institute in Charlotte. He had a pro day at California (Pa.) in mid-March and when the NFL Draft happened last week, he knew if anything was going to happen it was going to be late Saturday night in the sixth or seventh round.
When he did not get picked, he expected to sign as a priority free agent — as Southern Columbia grad Henry Hynoski did last year with the Giants— but that call never came either. A couple of teams were in contact with him, he said, but were waiting to see how things worked out with other players first.
Now the Jets will have him in for the three-day rookie camp. If things work out, they will likely sign him to a free agent deal. If not, Kurtz said he is likely heading to the Eagles’ rookie camp next week for another shot.
“I have to make the decision easy for them,” said Kurtz, a 6-foot-5, 320-pounder. “I can’t have any bad days. It would be horrible to have a bad day right now. I have three days, I have to go as hard as I can and make them want me to stick around.”
Kurtz said he realizes he is far from securing a spot on an NFL roster, but from where he was a week ago to now, he feels like a career in professional football is closer to being a reality.
“It feels great right now, I still know I’m not there yet,” he said. “I’ve got this weekend to make my mark. But I am starting to see that light at end of the tunnel.”
Two former Bloomsburg University offensive linemen have played in the NFL in the last two decades. Eric Jonassen was a fifth-round pick by the Chargers in 1992 and played in 32 career games. Jahri Evans was a fourth-round pick by the Saints in 2006 and is regarded as one of the best guards in the NFL right now and is a three-time All-Pro.