After six stints in the NFL in as many years, Leger Douzable finally feels like he’s home.
Douzable’s journey to the Jets took him to prior stops with the Vikings, Giants, Rams, Lions, Jaguars and Titans— in that order— before most recently latching on with the Jets. An undrafted rookie free agent in 2008, his defensive line coach with the Vikings was current Jets defensive line coach Karl Dunbar, who also brought in current Jets lineman Lanier Coleman from his time in Minnesota.
Douzable, who was brought in for a tryout during minicamp, originally wasn’t signed by the Jets but eventually found his way back to Florham Park, N.J.
“They told me it might happen soon, then I went to some other places,” Douzable told Metro. “Then I was at Tampa Bay on a visit and [the Jets] called me and I was excited. It was where I wanted to be; there’s no doubt about that.”
Last season was supposed to be a coming of age for Douzable with the Titans. Coming off two years with the Jaguars where he played in 31 games and started six games in 2011, his time with the Titans seemed like a good fit given their lack of depth along the defensive front. But Douzable suffered a torn pectoral muscle during the third preseason game and was placed on injured reserve, prematurely ending a year of promise.
He left Tennessee after his one-year deal expired and he had several tryouts with other teams “but people are hesitant to sign you when you’re coming off an injury.” So he did what he has always done: wait for his time.
With Quinton Coples out with a right ankle injury that will cost him the rest of preseason and might roll into the regular season, Douzable has been getting his chance to work with the first team. He has one tackle and one pass defended in limited time this preseason, but has come along very strong this week in training camp. His role will likely expand this Saturday at the Giants.
At no point in his journey in what is now his seventh stop in the league— in 2010 he made stops in St. Louis, Detroit and Jacksonville in one year alone — has he considered giving up his dream. Douzable is hoping a career that took him from Alonso High School in Tampa to nearby UCF and crisscrossing the country with six NFL stops will end with him here at the Jets.
“My parents instilled in me that if I want something, go for it. My dad used to tell me in high school, ‘How bad do you want it?’ People, ever since I was younger, people told me I wouldn’t go to Division I-A. I went Division I-A. They told me I wouldn’t go to the league. I went to the league. I’m now here in year No. 6,” Douzable said. “People have always told me what I can’t do. You can’t do that; you can’t listen to them. If you have a passion for something, you need to pursue what you want to do and make it.
“And now I’m enjoying it. I’m an undrafted free agent entering my sixth year in the league. I’m living the dream. How can I not enjoy it?”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.