If you’re a fringe NFL player, you’ll probably do anything to keep your job.
Danny Etling of the New England Patriots is no exception.
Experimenting at receiver
Etling, a starting quarterback at Louisiana State whom the Patriots drafted in the seventh round last year, walked onto the field for the first practice of training camp on Thursday wearing a white jersey, not the red no-contact jersey the team makes quarterbacks wear.
Etling spent last season on the practice squad as New England kept just quarterbacks Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer on the 53-man roster. And this year the team drafted Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham in the fourth round, adding one more quarterback to the meeting room.
Etling, a 25-year-old Indiana native, told reporters that he knew he’d have to fill different roles if he wanted to keep a spot on the roster.
“I'm excited to continue to keep trying to find a different role for myself and do whatever the coaches ask me to do,” Etling said.
He’s never played receiver before.
A good example to follow
A decade ago, the Patriots drafted a quarterback in the seventh round and immediately started getting him reps at receiver and returner.
That move worked out: Julian Edelman was a reserve receiver and even played some defensive back before his breakout season in 2013, when he attached himself to Brady’s hip after Wes Welker signed with Denver.
While teammates like Phillip Dorsett have joked that Etling could be a hybrid player like the Saints’ Taysom Hill, Etling wants to roll with the punches.
“I love football,” he said. “I love playing football and I’m out here in an NFL training camp getting to play for the Patriots and getting to find a new role for myself, getting to get coached by some of the greatest coaches and getting to be a teammate with some of the greatest teammates of all time. I’ve really enjoyed being a part of this team and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to continue to do that.”
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