Kia signs one-year contract with Jets
BY Stephen Tsai
When the ink was dry, including on the dot over the "i" in his surname, former Hawai'i offensive lineman Aaron Kia agreed to recite the chant:
"J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets," Kia shouted.
After a successful tryout yesterday morning, Kia signed a one-year contract with the New York Jets.
"It was such a relief," Kia said. "I was super happy. I was stoked."
And, for the first time in recent memory, the gregarious Kia admittedly "was speechless."
It was a proud ascent for Kia, who was not selected in last month's National Football League draft. Two weeks ago, he auditioned with the San Francisco 49ers. But that tryout did not result in a contract offer.
Soon after that three-day workout with 49ers, he was invited to yesterday's one-day tryout with the Jets. Kia prepared by training with his brother, UCLA offensive lineman Micah Kia, and former Bruin defensive lineman Jerzy Siewierski.
Yesterday's tryout was held at the Jets' training facility in Florham Park, N.J. Five free-agent offensive linemen, including Kia, worked out at one station. The rest of the Jets were in another area participating in organized team activities (OTA).
"It was standard O-line drills — run-blocking, hip work, all of that kind of stuff," Kia said. "It was mostly technical."
After the workout, two linemen were excused. Kia and the remaining two linemen then were taken to a medical facility for physical examinations.
After that, Kia was summoned to another room, where he was offered a one-year contract. He then signed it.
"I was kind of nervous about the tryout, because Hawai'i mostly passes, and NFL teams like to run and pass," Kia said. "But I gave it my best shot, and I'm glad I had the opportunity."
Kia started all 13 UH games at left tackle last season. He competed at guard and center during the workout with the 49ers. But he was told that he would be used mostly as a left tackle with the Jets. D'Brickashaw Ferguson is the Jets' starting left tackle, and Wayne Hunter, a former Warrior, is the top backup at tackle and guard.
"I'm going to try to be versatile," Kia said. "I'm not going to subject myself to one position. I'll do whatever they want me to do."
Linebacker Brashton Satele, also a former Warrior, is on the Jets' roster.
Mike Smith, who was a UH graduate assistant coach in 2009, is a Jets' defensive assistant.