New York Jets defensive end Kony Ealy, second from left, celebrates his interception with Marcus Maye, left, and others on Sunday. If Ealy ever finds consistency ... Frank Franklin II AP
New York Jets defensive end Kony Ealy, second from left, celebrates his interception with Marcus Maye, left, and others on Sunday. If Ealy ever finds consistency ... Frank Franklin II AP

Tom Talks

Tom Sorensen's off-beat and often biting take on the world of sports

Tom Sorensen

After a difficult week, another flash from a promising player drifting through NFL

By Tom Sorensen

Correspondent

October 05, 2017 9:07 AM

Former Carolina Panther and New England Patriot Kony Ealy had a big game Sunday. Ealy, a defensive end for the New York Jets, deflected four passes from Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles. Ealy caught one for an interception, and received a game ball.

He had a rough week. He missed time with his team after his sister passed.

The Panthers took Ealy in the second round of the 2014 draft. Carolina liked his potential. Ealy showed all of it in the February 2016 Super Bowl loss to Denver. He had three sacks and, had the Panthers won, would have been a fine choice for MVP.

Ealy also showed it on occasion in games, practice and training camp. He was going to be good. Everybody could tell. And he was for a series or a play.

Then he wasn’t. He faded. Drifted might be a better word.

Last March the Panthers traded Ealy to New England, sending Ealy and a third-round pick to the Patriots for a second-round pick.

Five months later the Patriots cut him, and the Jets picked him up.

How do coaches entice a player to fulfill his potential? How do they move from, “he’s talented,” to “he’s gets everything he can out of his talent.” How do they convince him he has a great opportunity and please take advantage of it?

The Jets will try to find out.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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