Austin Seferian-Jenkins has, by all accounts, struggled on the football field the past two years. A second-round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who took the Washington Husky with the 38th overall selection in the 2014 NFL draft, Seferian-Jenkins opened his career with 21 receptions for 221 yards and two touchdowns.
Those numbers, after remaining essentially the same in 2015 — 21 receptions for 338 yards — took a precipitous dive in 2016, a season in which he competed for both Tampa Bay and the New York Jets. He hauled in a total of 13 catches for just north of 150 yards, finding the end zone only once.
His struggles off the field, however, may have dwarfed those on it.
In September, Seferian-Jenkins was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, which was preceded, a year earlier, by a DUI while at Washington. On Monday evening, it was reported that Seferian-Jenkins quit drinking this past January and received outpatient rehab treatment.
“It really didn’t have anything to do with football,” Seferian-Jenkins told the Associated Press. “It just had to do with, as a person, there comes a certain time in your life when your life could go one direction or the other and I felt it going in a direction I didn’t want it to go. So I figured out what I needed to do.”
The changes in his physique are evident, as Seferian-Jenkins has reportedly cut 33 pounds from his 262-pound frame.
”I mean, man, it’s a lot easier running around, lighter,” he said. ”More than just losing the weight, it’s a mindset of how I’m going to attack the day, how I’m going to attack the practice.”
Seferian-Jenkins was a standout at Washington, receiving at least six touchdowns in each of his three seasons as a Husky. In 2013, a season in which he caught 36 passes for 450 yards and 8 touchdowns, he was awarded the John Mackey Award as the nation’s most outstanding tight end.
”I kind of forget about the past, but you remember the lessons from the past,” he said, per Fox Sports. ”I get my ankles taped where the rookies get theirs taped, I’m in the ice bath with the rookies getting an ice bath. I’m treating this like my rookie year. It’s a new me and I’ve rededicated myself and pushing myself as hard as I can.”