Jachai Polite getting “clean slate” in opportunity with Seahawks

Curtis Crabtree
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

Jachai Polite earned the unwanted distinction of becoming the highest drafted player from the 2019 draft class to be released. The 68th overall selection from this year’s draft was released by the New York Jets over the weekend and went unclaimed off waivers before signing on with the practice squad of the Seattle Seahawks.

Polite was fined $100,000 by the Jets for tardiness and other issues during his four months with the team this summer before his release on Saturday.

Seahawks defensive line coach Clint Hurtt said Wednesday that Polite is getting the chance to start anew in Seattle and leave a better impression with his new team.

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“The only thing I said to him, I said ‘listen, I understand all the media articles are out there about what transpired in New York.’ I said ‘you’ve got a clean slate here with me.'” Hurtt said. “I said ‘don’t do anything that’s going to make me conjour up and recall the things that I heard. You got a new start, let’s move forward. We don’t deal with any of that foolishness here and if you’re not going to be the consummate pro and be where you’re supposed to be on-time, you don’t give me your undivided attention and work, you won’t be here long.’

“He was pretty good with that. He said ‘coach, I appreciate it. I’m trying to be better.’ I said, ‘well, I’m going to help you. You’re not going to be alone. If you want to do it, I’ll help you get it done.’ So he’s been good so far.”

Head coach Pete Carroll said Monday that the Seahawks were surprised that Polite had become available and jumped at the opportunity to add him to their practice squad. Polite has taken part in two practices with the team already and has seemingly gotten off to an encouraging start with his new team.

“He’s been quiet. He’s been focused. I’ve got no problems. He’s been good so far,” Hurtt said. “All I can go off is what my initial experience is. Nice kid, he’s been good so far. He’s not the first and he ain’t going to be the last kid to make some mistakes early in his career. And hopefully you guys print that, don’t make it seem like I’m sitting here killing him because I’m not. He’ll continue to come along and we’ll have patience.”

Hurtt was a part of the group that evaluated Polite coming out of the University of Florida for the Seahawks. Despite a poor showing at the NFL Combine in February, Hurtt said there was stuff to like about Polite’s game.

“Coming out he was a guy that has really good anticipation of the snap count,” Hurtt said. “Excellent hand-eye coordination, unique ability to bend and turn the edge. Obviously I know his Combine numbers weren’t necessarily great but he has a great feel for the game and a great feel for how to rush the passer. You just want to continue to build off of that and put him in positions of what he does well. That’s why he’s on practice squad. Just keep developing and working with him and see what happens.”

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