Brandon Copeland’s NFL journey has been rocky prior to hooking up with the New York Jets, but he’s looking forward to building momentum.
It’s been a long time since New York Jets linebacker has regularly seen himself in the starting slot on a depth chart, dating back to his days at the University of Pennsylvania. While it was a victorious end for Copeland, as he captained the Quakers to an Ivy League title, his NFL journey has been a bit rocky.
Undrafted, Copeland, 27, bounced around several organizations, and even had a brief stint in the Arena League, before finally finding some semblance of a home in Detroit in 2015. A contract with the Lions was the reward of a strong showing at the 2015 NFL Veterans Combine, becoming one of two players (along with former Arizona Cardinals tight end Ifeanyi Momah) to earn a contract from the event.
Copeland played 32 games, starting one, over two seasons in Detroit, flashing potential on several occasions, but his Lions career came to an unceremonious end, as a torn pectoral suffered in the team’s first preseason game cost him the entirety of last season.
Fully entrenched in Jets camp, Copeland’s only looking toward the future.
“I’m trying to get more chemistry out there with my teammates, make sure they know they can trust me to do my job, and then also trying to hit my own stride and make plays,” he told Randy Lange of Jets.com. “I’m just trying to work every single day to get better.”
Copeland has had a strong training camp, and his efforts in green thus far earned him the start in last Friday’s preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons. He was part of a strong Jets defensive effort, as the Falcons failed to get a first down until the dying stages of the second quarter.
“It was fun to be in MetLife,” he said. “I’ve always known this is one of the meccas of stadiums. The difference with the fans out here is they know everybody on the field, so you’re walking to the locker room and you hear people calling you by your first name. So it’s pretty fun.”
Copeland’s journey to reach the Jets’ opening roster will continue on Thursday night, as the Jets take on the Washington Redskins on the road (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN). Should he reach that milestone, the Jets’ first regular season game will go down against the Detroit Lions on Sept. 10.
“Obviously once the schedule came out, it was not only that the first game was in Detroit but it was Monday Night Football on top of that. It was like what more can you ask for?” he said. “God has really set this season up to be something special, so I’m excited for it.”