Catch Up with the Jets Legend Originally Drafted by AtlantaJim Gehman
Kansas City head coach Marty Schottenheimer was one who kept his cards close to his chest. And because of that, it took a little longer for fourth-year veteran tight end Troy Sadowski to make his way to the Jets in 1992.
"In'91, I was in Kansas City, and he had called me in and said somebody was trying to trade to get me. But he wouldn't tell me who it was," Sadowski said. "After the season was over, I was a free agent, and one of the first calls was from the Jets with (head coach) Bruce Coslet. Bruce had me come in for a visit and we went to have dinner. That's when he told me that he was the one that was trying to trade to get me, but Marty would not let me go.
"And from that point on, we had a really good friendship and relationship. I'm just thankful that he was there and that he thought that much about me. It was just a good moment between a player and his coach. Just a special time. And so you go where you're wanted. That's how I ended up in New York."
Originally drafted by Atlanta in 1989, Sadowski spent two years with the Falcons and one with the Chiefs. Now with his third team in three years, he learned that making adjustments were a part of life in the NFL.
"I really did not know a lot of people when I initially got (to New York), but over time, you get to know people," Sadowski said. "Pat Chaffey was one of the running backs and I was friends with him. Paul Frase was my roommate when we were on the on the road. So you make friends.
"That was one of the toughest things, moving around. And that makes things really difficult as far as building friendships and having relationships. But you adjust quickly."
With veteran tight ends Mark Boyer, Ken Whisenhunt and rookie Johnny Mitchell on the roster, Sadowski was a backup, but someone who could long snap for punts and field goal attempts. Additionally, he was also a standout blocker.
"At the University of Georgia, one of our favorite plays was the toss sweep. And the tight end has a key block on the toss sweep, so I had that down pat. So I was a blocking tight end or role player, and I was okay with that," Sadowski said.
"Al Roberts was the special teams coach, and he kind of pulled me aside and let me know that I needed to start (long snapping), and I could lengthen my career. And if I ever saw Al Roberts today, I would give him a hug and a big kiss on the cheek because I really think that my involvement with the special teams is what did extend my career as long as it did."
After two years with the Jets, Sadowski, a free agent, followed Coslet, who had been let go following the 1993 season, to the Bengals.
"He was in Cincinnati as the offensive coordinator and said, 'We've got a young tight end out of Michigan. His name's Tony McGee. I need somebody to mentor him and teach him how to study and plan and prepare for a game. And you don't have to worry about making the team.' And I'm like, 'Oh man, I'm there,'" Sadowski laughed. "It was nice to be part of something because eventually, they fired Dave Shula (during the 1996 season) and Bruce got the head coach position."
With Cincinnati for three seasons before moving on to Pittsburgh and Jacksonville, Sadowski more than beat the odds and spent 10 years in the NFL. One of his fondest memories didn't occur on the field or in the locker room, but at the Jets' Christmas party in 1993.
"Bruce's wife came up to me and said, 'Bruce would never tell you this, but you are one of his all-time favorite players because that you remind him of himself,'" Sadowski said.
"I wish I could have played for one team for my entire career, but that's not the way it is. You go where you're wanted. The hardest thing is staying around, making a roster. And when you find yourself in that situation and you're a role player that has a niche, that he can snap punts and field goals, you go where the job is. And you make yourself as valuable as you can. So they can't get rid of you.
"Lasting 10 years, being able to do that was very special. Just to know that in a tough industry like that, the National Football League, I truly feel that my time there ended very successfully."
The father of four adult children: Britny, Ashby, Zach and Gabrielle; and the grandfather of one: Ethan; Sadowski and his wife, Beth, make their home in Woodstock, Georgia, where he is the co-owner of Cornerstone Estate Planning.
"I have a business partner, Mike Wootton, and we have a partnership agreement with the National Free Will Baptist Foundation to go into their churches and help families prepare for the unknown and the unexpected. And what that is, is if you become incapacitated, or if you die, it's keeping the control within the family, avoiding probate, minimize and eliminate unnecessary taxes. It's just your basic estate planning that revolves around the revocable living trust," Sadowski said.
"But I also have the opportunity to tell my testimony. The Lord has provided me with the platform, and that platform was the age at the age of 31, he gave me a second chance. I was radically saved and transformed. Before I was nothing more than a loser, user and abuser. And he sent people into my life that helped me understand what it means to be a good Christian, a good father, a good husband.
"I had some difficult times that I went through throughout my career. I had to go through a divorce and it was very difficult. And the Lord brought these people into my life where they spoke truth and I learned a lot about myself. And since then, it has been the most incredible, most radical transformation in my life that I can ever think of."