New York Jets LB Neville Hewitt has worked mostly as a reserve, but the defender has come up big at certain points of his football career.
Neville Hewitt is used to his football jersey carrying shades of green. It began with the Thundering Herd of Marshall, where he earned Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2014. Such an honor failed to lead to a phone call during the NFL Draft. But Hewitt has since been carving a solid career for himself in the NFL.
Hewitt turns 27 on Monday, and he’ll have extra cash to spend courtesy of the New York Jets. The reserve linebacker was signed to a one-year, $2 million dollar earlier this offseason, welcoming him back for a third Jets season.
While Hewitt has mostly come off the bench, he has proven himself valuable on several occasions. In honor of Hewitt’s big day, we look back on the best moments of his NFL career to date…
12/17/16: Miami Nice
One of Hewitt’s first big NFL moments came at a Jets game at MetLife Stadium under the supervision of Adam Gase. But Hewitt wasn’t a member of the Jets just yet…he, Gase, and the Miami Dolphins were wrapping up the team’s first winning season since 2008 in a Saturday night showdown in East Rutherford.
In the final stages of the third quarter, Hewitt earned his first NFL sack, part of a five-tackle evening. Short-lived Jets starter Bryce Petty was the victim, and Miami took the game by a 34-13 final. They would earn a wild-card playoff berth with an overtime win over Buffalo the week after.
12/9/18: Hew Era Field
After three years in Miami, Hewitt joined the Jets in March 2018. Reps as a reserve and as a special teamer awaited him, but Hewitt was pressed into starting when calamities hit the linebacking group (i.e. a season-ending suspension to Darron Lee). Hewitt’s first Jets start came in a visit to Buffalo.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen tried to pick on Hewitt, throwing to his assignments nine times. Only three made it to their target, and Hewitt also tied for the team lead with eight tackles. He and Henry Anderson also united for a sack on Allen, one that helped stall a Buffalo drive in Jets territory. The Jets wound up winning the game 27-23.
12/23/18: Invading Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood
Hewitt had no problem working overtime for Christmas…or, at least, for Festivus. He wound up partaking in every single snap in the Jets’ 44-38 overtime defeat at the hands of the Green Bay Packers.
Despite the loss, Hewitt created a solid showcase. He tied a career-best with nine tackles and earned the first solo sack of his Jets career with a takedown of Aaron Rodgers. The star quarterback was forced into several other throwaways thanks to Hewitt pressure, but nonetheless got knocked down three separate times.
9/8/19: Just Joshin’
When will Josh Allen learn? Perhaps Hewitt heroics too often come in Jets losses, but the linebacker certainly played a role in the effort to prevent a 17-16 loss to the Bills on opening weekend last year by victimizing the Bills’ franchise man again.
Allen only targeted Hewitt assignments on four occasions this time around, but the defender made him pay on one such chance. His interception of Allen in the late stages of the second quarter gave the Jets a chance to build a two-possession lead just before halftime. Alas, Kaare Vedvik let Hewitt’s gift go to waste by missing a 44-yard attempt, one of the biggest differences in the narrow defeat.
Hewitt’s robbery was the second interception of his career. As a rookie Dolphin, he earned his first turnover with an interception of Tony Romo during a November 2015 tilt against Dallas.
11/17/19: Rude Washington Welcome
Interconference play seems to bring out the best in Hewitt. He set a new career-best with 11 tackles against Philadelphia in October, but he had a deadlier surprise in store for the Washington Redskins when the Jets hit up FedExField just over a month later.
A dire matchup between teams with a combined three wins was at least partly anticipated for one occasion. First-round pick Dwayne Haskins, the latest in an endless line of Washington franchise saviors, was making his first Landover start. Hewitt was happy to issue the first interception-induced home groans, as it was he that was responsible for Haskins’ first turnover on his new stomping grounds. It was one of several fireworks the Jets enjoyed in a 34-17 win, one that helped spark a 6-2 streak to end the 2019 season.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags