Hayden Smith put on a football helmet for the first time in his life a few days ago.
He fiddled with it a bit, snapped the chin strap and then spent a few minutes getting used to the metal bars covering his face.
As a former rugby player in England, the Australian-born Smith isn't used to all the padding and protection.
''It's actually not so bad,'' he said with a big smile. ''A second skin, right?''
Smith participated in rookie minicamp with the New York Jets over the weekend, hoping to catch on as a tight end. He still has lots to learn, but he's not just a feel-good story. Smith stood out during the three-day camp with some impressive catches and surprisingly natural football instincts.
''Really, I can't believe the guy,'' coach Rex Ryan said. ''Is he doing everything perfect? No. But he's trying like crazy to. I'm not going to bet against him. There's no way I'm betting against this guy.''
And that's even with the odds fairly stacked. After all, Smith is already 27 and onl...