Tuesday, November 12, 2013
From glory to pink slip in a few minutes
By Rich Cimini
The NFL is a week-to-week business. On some levels, it's also day-to-day, hour-to-hour and minute-to-minute.
Let's consider the story of Rontez Miles, a rookie safety.
On Monday, I talked to Miles about his NFL debut nine days ago against the New Orleans Saints. Miles, who spent the first eight games on the New York Jets' practice squad, called it "the best moment of my life." He played 15 snaps on special teams, the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. He grew up in a Western Pennsylvania ghetto, attended Division II California (Pa.) and wasn't drafted -- so it has been a tough dream to chase.
"I was actually crying during the national anthem," Miles said. "It was definitely an emotional experience."
He said he was looking forward to creating a niche for himself on special teams. Our conversation occurred around 3:45 p.m.
At 4:02, the Jets tweeted the news that Miles had been waived to make room for tight end Kellen Winslow, who was activated to the 53-man roster after a four-game suspension.
Chances are, Miles will return to the Jets' practice squad, assuming he clears waivers, but he had to be blindsided by the news.
Before receiving the official word, he spoke excitedly about how his promotion had lifted the spirits of his incarcerated half-brother, Vondre Griffin, who is serving four to 10 years after recently accepting a plea deal, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Griffin, 24, was originally charged with murder, stemming from the 2012 shooting death of a man in McKeesport, Pa., but he agreed in September to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter.
Griffin watched the Jets-Saints game on TV in jail, according to Miles.
"He was screaming out loud, 'My brother is active, my brother is active,'" Miles said, smiling.
A few minutes after recounting the story, he was out of a job.
UPDATE: Miles did, in fact, clear waivers late Tuesday, making him a candidate to return to the practice squad.