Jenkins, who was signed as a free agent by the Raiders in May, caught five passes for 47 yards, averaged 11.5 yards on two punt returns, and 37.5 yards on a pair of kickoff returns in games during the NFL’s preseason.
After being released at the end of the preseason, Jenkins was signed to the Raiders’ practice squad the next day. He has continued to practice as a receiver, punt returner, and kick returner and is expected to play when Oakland hosts the Tennessee Titans Sunday at 3 p.m. central time.
Jenkins, who played quarterback for the Hornets, was moved to wide receiver during the 2013 offseason and caught the eye of former NFL cornerback and current ESPN analyst Herm Edwards during practice for the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl game in January. Jenkins has been soaking up the experience since his invite to the Raiders’ rookie mini-camp following the NFL Draft.
“Seeing how everyone prepares for games week in and week out was big for me,” said Jenkins, a native of Dade City, Florida. “Learning how to practice at a good pace and giving the defense a good look on the scout team offense was important. I also learned how to control my emotions after a win or loss because you have quickly get ready for the next opponent.”
During the training camp, and especially when the preseason games began, is when Jenkins believes he really made his biggest adjustment to pro football.
“When the preseason games started, that’s when I really got to see how fast the game was,” Jenkins said. “I adjusted every day. It hasn’t slowed down completely; I’m competing against some of the fastest athletes in the world besides Olympic athletes.”
Jenkins was often among the fastest players on the field as a Hornet. A two-year starter at quarterback for Alabama State after transferring from junior college, the elusive Jenkins totaled more than 4,000 yards and accounted for 35 touchdowns as a passer and runner in leading the Hornets to victories in 13 of his 19 starts.
“We are very proud of Greg,” said Alabama State head football coach Reggie Barlow, himself an eight-year NFL veteran as a receiver and kick returner who played one season as a Raider. “We know he has been working hard and staying focused. This is a great chance for him to establish himself as a wide receiver and returner. I look forward to seeing him play this weekend.”
The infamous “Black Hole”, perhaps the most passionate section of Raider fans in the south end zone of O.co Coliseum, will be among the Silver and Black fans cheering Jenkins on.
“It will be mixed feelings – emotional and excited,” Jenkins said. “We have a great fan base in Raider Nation, and the energy of the stadium will be crazy! It will definitely be a day to remember.”
Jenkins is one of four former Alabama State players currently on NFL rosters. Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is in his eight NFL season, his second with the Seattle Seahawks, while rookie tackle Terren Jones (practice squad) and cornerback Saeed Lee (injured reserve) are with the Atlanta Falcons.