Following the end of the 2013 NFL Draft, wide receiver Greg Jenkins, Alabama State University standout, was signed by the Oakland Raiders. It happened after he was passed over and the Raiders extended an invite for Jenkins to join in on their rookie minicamp.
After the final practice of the rookie minicamp session, all of the minicamp invites are instructed to assemble in the meeting room while draft picks and rookies are asked to meet in the weight room. Jenkins was headed to the meeting room with the rest of the minicamp invites when someone pulled him aside and asked him to join the rookies and draft picks in the weight room. Jenkins, a Dade City, Florida native, recalled, “I was like, ‘Why would they do that’? I was just thinking they might just bring me back next week for the minicamp with the veterans and stuff. But after that I checked my phone and my agent had called me and he was saying, ‘Congratulations’ and all that and that they had offered a contract. It surprised me really.”
The Raiders first noticed Jenkins during the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in February of 2013 and even Jenkins knew that he’d had a good camp. He had spent his entire career at Alabama State as a quarterback, but had switched to wideout. He had caught all but one pass that was thrown his way. Jenkins demonstrated that he was multifaceted and could work as a capable slot receiver, in the wildcat option, or as an emergency quarterback. Jenkins also worked as a kickoff and punt returner, which is something he hadn’t done since his senior year or high school.
Jenkins talked about it and said, “First of all, as a rookie, you always gotta prove yourself and work your way from the bottom. But in my situation, I already knew I had to prove myself. I mean the more you can do the better it is like the return game. You can just be a one-way player, you gotta be able to do more things than one. So I knew I had to be able to do everything in order to really get a shot.”
During the 2013 season, Jenkins found some success on special teams when he recovered a fumble against the Dallas Cowboys and then returned it for a touchdown. Jenkins described his first season as a learning experience, but he’s very much looking forward to the 2014 season and said, “It’s a lot easier in year two, because last year I was pretty much running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Now, I understand the wide receiver position, but at the same time I’m still learning. I’m still learning more stuff every day.”
Jenkins also talked about how excited he is that veteran James Jones has joined the Raiders from the Green Bay Packers. He said, “We needed a veteran like James to be in that room, because everybody is young. We needed a veteran like James to help us on the small stuff, things he uses, the small stuff that he uses that he had success within Green Bay. He’s a champion so he knows how to win, so I’m just learning from him.” Jenkins looks at the Raiders and their very active off season and he said, “There’s a lot of optimism. Every day we’re just coming out and working and trying to get better. You can’t get content if you have a good day, or if you have a bad day you just have to bounce back. We want to win right now.”
Any one of Raider Nation who is on Twitter can attest to Jenkins being interactive with the fan base on a daily basis. Every day, he tweets that he feels blessed to see another day and he pays very close attention to those who tweet him asking for a retweet and it’s just uncommon to see an NFL player do that. He retweeted me on my birthday and retweeted Raider Nation’s sweetheart Stacy when she was promoting her MS Walk. Jenkins works hard on the field and works to acknowledge Raider Nation as well. It’s really interesting to see how new players will react to the fervor that is Raider Nation and Jenkins has jumped in and embraced it well.