The congratulatory messages flooded Oday Aboushi's Twitter page for a few days after he was drafted by the New York Jets two weeks ago.
Many were happy to see the hometown kid from the New York borough of Staten Island starting his NFL career close to his family and friends. It was the other tweets, first dozens and then hundreds, from places such as Dubai and Saudi Arabia that made the enormity of the situation really sink in.
As a Palestinian-American, the Jets' offensive lineman is a rarity in the NFL. Aboushi, drafted in the fifth round out after a standout career at the University of Virginia, is one of just a handful of players with that ethnic background.
''People weren't just talking about me being a New York Jet, but being one of the first Arab-Americans, a Palestinian-American, to be drafted. It's settling in now. It's a different feeling, one that I'm embracing and really loving.''
As are Palestinian-Americans around the country. The short list of NFL players with Pal...