Jett (The Nighthawk Series #4) - Lisa Lang Blakeney Page 0,1
in a game in my life. They said I wasn’t a good leader but conveniently forgot it was my leadership that got us to the Superbowl in the first place. They said I was selfish and immature, but I showed nothing but respect to my teammates and coaches. I always have. I’m Texas born and bred. We come out of the womb revering our elders.
The vitriol thrown my way, especially from some of my own teammates shocked and angered me, and because they hurt my feelings, I reacted and asked the front office to be traded but to my surprise they agreed. I was unceremoniously traded to another team who traded me again two years later.
And now I’m here.
In a city that doesn’t want me.
With my previous team, I played under the bright lights under a multi-million dollar dome on brand new turf paid for by the thousands of fans who filled the seats every game, but everything is different with the Nighthawks. We play in an older stadium on real grass under the sun or the stars, rain or shine.
And the fans are different.
They’re grittier, tougher and very dedicated to the team. New York is a big football market and has some of the most loyal and toughest fans in the league, even though their ticket prices are probably some of the highest in the nation.
Unfortunately, those same fans think I’m some sort of selfish, undisciplined, immature, overpaid flop; probably because a picture has been painted through countless media interviews and op-ed pieces that I am. I’m certain that the negativity from the press since my college days has seeped into the consciousness of this entire city.
They’ve been brainwashed.
And now they hate me.
The overall consensus of the fans here is that they wish management would go with our back-up quarterback, Josh Rivera, instead of me. He’s the beloved homegrown veteran from Queens, New York, and I’m the jinxed kid from Texas that nobody believes in.
So you see what I’m up against, right? They’re all just waiting for me to make one mistake, and then they’ll call for my head on a platter.
I can’t let today be that one mistake.
While I may be extremely nervous right now because we’re losing this game in a close score, and I just got the shit knocked out of me, I also realize that today is a great chance for me to show the world what I’m really made of.
I’m that kid growing up who arrived to practice early and left late. I’m the kid who trained twice as hard as anybody else during the off season to build muscle and increase my accuracy. I’m the kid who lives, eats and shits football. It’s in my blood, and I truly believe it’s my destiny to be the best who ever did it.
That destiny starts now.
We’re standing huddled on the sideline, as I give my offense a quick, motivational speech. I’m not sure how well it’s going to work, but it’s my job as quarterback to spur my team to victory.
“This game is far from over!” I say with adrenaline running through my veins. “Their defense is getting tired. Let’s run the play just like we have a hundred times in practice. Let’s get some points on the board.”
“Hawks!” we chant in unison.
We get ready to run a play that we’ve practiced during preseason many times. For once today, my offensive line is protecting me well, giving me plenty of time to find an open man.
As I scan the field, I smile to myself when I notice that one of our best wide receivers, Mark Gibson, is downfield and being held by only one man five inches shorter than him.
The other team has made a huge mistake on man to man coverage. There’s no way that dude can hold my receiver. I can toss the ball up high and long, and it’s a sure bet that Gibson will catch it.
This is it.
This is my opportunity to turn this game around and I feel it in every fiber of my being.
I step back and throw the ball with precision to Gibson and wait as the ball glides through the air in what feels almost like slow motion. The packed crowd of hometown spectators cheer in anticipation of the catch and the suspense of the moment is palpable. But what I don’t see and didn’t predict is one of the opposing team’s big ass tight-ends running clear across the field in front of my open guy.