Cubicles and water-cooler talk put some Central Michigan graduates facing the real world to sleep.
When Nick Bellore walked into work after his CMU career, it was a bit different. The NFL lockout ended and he walked into the New York Jets locker room to begin his first day of work.
“You get a little star-struck seeing guys like Plaxico (Burress), (LaDainian Tomlinson), (Antonio) Cromartie and all these guys that you’ve watched on TV,” Bellore said. “But that goes away very quickly.”
The linebacker played mostly special teams racking up 19 tackles as an undrafted free agent. Bellore said the NFL is a faster game with less room for error, but at the end of the day it is still football.
“It’s the same game you’ve been playing your whole life,” he said. “It’s just at a bigger scale.”
As a part of the Jets organization he has seen one of the biggest soap opera’s in football.
Before this season head coach Rex Ryan said the Jets would win the Super Bowl, they failed to make the playoffs. Bellore loves playing for the enthusiastic, players-coach.
“He’s awesome,” Bellore said. “A delight to work for and play for. He’s kind of got a players’ mentality as a coach. He’s a brash guy. Puts himself out there and I love that from a head coach.
“He speaks his mind and believes in his team. On an every day basis, he really fights for us and loves the guys he has on the team.”
Bellore couldn’t have felt very loved when he went undrafted in the NFL draft last April. He feels like he has been overlooked his whole career, something that helps drive him.
He believes that’s why some many Chippewas are successful in the NFL.
“A lot of us were kind of overlooked coming into college, and its something that kind of stays with you in terms of moving forward with our work ethic unmatched,” Bellore said. “There’s always that drive to prove people wrong.”
He was a senior linebacker for CMU when head coach Dan Enos was in his first season. Although the Chippewas went 3-9 that season, and again in year two Bellore likes what Enos has done.
“It’s always tough coming in as a new coach and trying to establish what you want to do,” Bellore said. “There are growing pains obviously, and there will always be those. With young guys brought in there’s some talent there.”
But Bellore is off looking for a championship at the next level. And although the Jets players may have came out and bad-mouthed each other in the New York media, he still thinks it comes down to one thing.
“Win,” he said. “Winning solves all problems.”