PALMER — Just three days after his release, Junior Aumavae is back with the New York Jets as part of the National Football League’s practice squad.
Aumavae announced on his Twitter account Tuesday morning that he had been signed to the team’s practice squad.
“I’m very blessed for this opportunity and for having great support from family and friends. The journey continues in New York,” the defensive lineman wrote.
The signing appeared on the transaction log on the team’s website later Tuesday.
Saturday, the 2004 Palmer High School graduate and former Moose football standout was one of 22 players released by the New York Jets as the team cut its roster to the league maximum of 53 players.
The NFL allows each team a maximum of eight practice squad players. These athletes earn a base weekly salary and can be added to the team’s 53-man regular-season roster at any time. Practice squad players are also eligible to negotiate and sign with any other NFL team.
Aumavae is one of two defensive lineman currently on the Jets’ practice squad, along with defensive tackle Tevita Finau. Five defensive linemen made the regular-season roster.
Aumavae was listed at third on the depth chart at nose tackle for much of the Jets preseason. He was on the field for a career-high 45 snaps during a 27-20 win over Philadelphia last Thursday, the final preseason game for the Jets. The 27-year-old defensive lineman appeared in all four Jets preseason games, and his playing time grew steadily each game. He recorded at least one tackle in every game. He finished the preseason with five tackles, including two for a loss.
Aumavae is trying to become the 11th Alaskan to make a regular-season NFL roster, and the first Valley product to play in the league during the regular season. Former Colony High School standout Cole Magner, a 2001 graduate, was signed by the Atlanta Falcons twice, and spent training camp with the Falcons in 2005 and 2006. Magner was also a member of the Baltimore Ravens practice squad for a brief time in 2005.
There are currently four Alaska products playing in the NFL — Arizona Cardinals lineman Daryn Colledge (North Pole), Denver Broncos lineman Chris Kuper (Dimond) and Chicago Bears defensive back Zack Bowman (Bartlett).
Aumavae was a Division II standout at Western Washington and Minnesota State-Mankato. He’s also played professional indoor football with the Fairbanks Grizzlies and Green Bay Blizzard.
Aumavae’s time with the Jets marked his second stint in the NFL. He spent a portion of the offseason with the Dallas Cowboys in 2010, but did not appear in a preseason game.
Aumavae is a former Alaska Lineman of the Year. He was named first-team all-state on offense and defense as a junior and senior.