Linebacker J.K. Schaffer is one of four first-year players attending Cincinnati's rookie minicamp this weekend, joining linebackers Brandon Joiner and DeQuin Evans and long-snapper/tight end Bryce Davis.
Schaffer signed with Jacksonville as an undrafted free agent following the 2012 NFL draft, leading the Jaguars in tackles, while generating an interception, during the preseason. He was waived during final cuts, signing onto Tampa Bay's Practice Squad on September 3. Fourteen days later, he was released and spent nearly three months unemployed until Cincinnati signed him to their practice squad on November 5.
Finally, he's making an impression.
"I was on the practice squad last year and I just never got that many quality reps with the actual calls and making adjustments. It was just on the cards and everything was drawn up. I think it’s a real good opportunity for me to get back myself rolling and get back into some football," said Schaffer (via FoxSportsOhio.com). "It was like being red-shirted. I was never red-shirted in college but I kind of felt like that’s what was going on."
Schaffer is working as a middle linebacker this weekend, calling the plays for the defense.
"It’s good to have him in there. He should have been at last year’s camp, and life would be a little higher than it is right now," said coach Marvin Lewis (via the Cincinnati Enquirer).
Said Schaffer of the first day: "I’ve gotten mental reps, I’ve gotten the slower practice reps and now it’s nice to put it into actual work. I don’t feel mentally tired out there. I feel like I’m out there running around fast and I know what I’m doing."