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Henrietta Post
  • Pittsford native Podlesh excited to return to the playing field

  • The offseason of discontent appears to be coming to an end for Adam Podlesh.



    As the NFL Lockout nears its inevitable conclusion players like the Jacksonville Jaguars punter and Pittsford native can now set their sights on what happens on the field, not in the boardroom or courtroom.

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  • The offseason of discontent appears to be coming to an end for Adam Podlesh.
    As the NFL Lockout nears its inevitable conclusion players like the Jacksonville Jaguars punter and Pittsford native can now set their sights on what happens on the field, not in the boardroom or courtroom.
    “It’s obviously been an unorthodox offseason,” Podlesh said Monday from Jacksonville. “Everybody I have been in contact with is just trying to keep it business as usual. We have been doing everything we can to stay in shape during the offseason.”
    Podlesh spent the offseason trying to maintain some sense of normalcy. He would work out three times a week with Jaguar kicker Josh Scobee at the local YMCA or on high school fields.
    Podlesh credits Jacksonville player representatives Aaron Kampman and Rashean Mathis for keeping the team updated and positive during the lockout.
    “I didn’t have a fear we were going to miss any of the season,” said Podlesh, who is entering his fifth season in the NFL. “I would have been very surprised. I was trying to keep myself open and prepared for this and just hoping for the best.”
    Podlesh’s offseason was made tougher because of an uncertain contract status. He is not expected to be restricted under the league’s new collective bargaining agreement.
    Podlesh should be one of the team’s top priorities when the free agency period starts.
    “I would be happy if I stayed in Jacksonville,” Podlesh said. “In my conversations with the team before the lockout it seemed like they wanted to make me a Jag for at least a few more years.”
    Podlesh made himself a priority to the Jaguars after an outstanding 2010 season. He finished with a career-best average of 43.8 yards per punt and 26 punts inside the 20.
    Podlesh lived out a dream last October when he played in Ralph Wilson Stadium for the first time in his career. He got the result he wanted - a 36-26 victory - but unfortunately for Podlesh the Jaguars didn’t punt in the game.
    “We’ve got a guy that does a nice job of directional kicking and hang time,” Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville head coach, said about Podlesh during last season.
    “We’ve got an unselfish guy in (Podlesh) that does a nice job with what we ask him to do, and that’s to match up the distance and the hang and the direction so that our guys can cover it, and then our guys bust their butt down there to get it covered.”
    Podlesh entered last season just happy to still be playing football. In the offseason he was diagnosed with salivary gland cancer after a biopsy on a growth below and in front of his ear revealed to be cancerous.
    Page 2 of 2 - Podlesh had an operation a few weeks later. He found out he wouldn’t need chemotherapy or radiation and six weeks later Podlesh returned to the field.
    He and Jaguar quarterback David Garrard team up each year to host a golf tournament in Jacksonville to raise funds for cancer awareness and support. Podlesh hopes he can continue to be an inspiration for those impacted by cancer.
    “ It really put my life into perspective,” he said. “Everybody on this earth has been affected by cancer. I felt like there weren’t enough positive stories out there, just too many negative ones.”
    Podlesh stays close to his Pittsford roots, as he visits his hometown at least once a year.
    He came home this spring to celebrate being inducted into the Pittsford Athletic Hall of Fame along with fellow football standouts Jazzmen Williams and Mike Levin. Podlesh also ran a local kicking camp over the Memorial Day weekend.
    “He’s a great kid,” said Keith Molinich, Pittsford head coach. “Growing up he was a compassionate, loyal teammate. He was friends with a lot of students, not just football players. He’s always tried to reach out to people.”

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