New York has at least one feel-good free-agent story this summer.
"We really like Brashton," New York Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said of former University of Hawaii linebacker Brashton Satele.
Pettine said the Jets coaches are impressed with Satele, who was signed to a free-agent contract after playing well in a tryout in May.
"He's certainly a guy who has all of the tools to do it," Pettine said. "What impresses us is he's a three-down linebacker. A lot of linebackers can only play first and second downs. They don't have the coverage ability on third down. It's pretty obvious, from what he showed us, he can cover most tight ends, and he can cover most guys."
Pettine is in town to lead workshops with the UH football coaches. He was quick to praise Satele, who became eligible for the National Football League after the NCAA rejected his request for a medical hardship that would have allowed him to play as a sixth-year senior in 2010.
"Brashton is a kid who just popped up on the radar late for us because of the unfortunate situation with the NCAA," Pettine said.
At the recommendation of defensive assistant Mike Smith, who served as a UH graduate assistant in 2009, the Jets agreed to audition Satele.
"He was a kid we felt kind of fell through the cracks," Pettine said. "We contacted his agent. We were in a position where we couldn't offer him a spot in training camp just yet. But it was a no-brainer to bring him in, at least for a rookie camp as a tryout."
Tryout players receive pay to cover living expenses during the three-day minicamp. But Pettine said it is considered "long odds" for a tryout player to earn a berth on the 80-player offseason roster.
"Usually those tryout guys are there to fill out the roster for 11-on-11s," Pettine said. "It's, 'Hey, you're here for three days, thank you very much.'"
But Satele, the middle linebacker in UH's 4-3 defense, played well as inside backer in the Jets' 3-4 scheme. He was listed behind All-Pro Bart Scott, and was used as the dime linebacker in schemes involving six pass defenders.
"You talk about our mentality to play like a Jet -- passionate, tough, competitive, play like your hair's on fire," Pettine said. "When he came in, he was in great shape. He impressed us right away.
"It was evident after a day we needed to switch him out and get him to (training) camp and send another player home. That's what we did. We're looking forward to a pretty good camp for Brashton."
Satele arrives in town tomorrow for a four-day vacation. He then returns to the East Coast to prepare for the start of training camp in three weeks.
"I'm very fortunate," Satele said.