Out of football just two seasons ago, TE J.P. Foschi has emerged as a key contributor for the Bengals.
Signed in August after injuries thinned the Bengals' TE depth chart, the 6-3, 265-pound Foschi has become the club's top receiving option at the position — a pleasant surprise, considering Foschi had caught just six passes in his previous three NFL seasons. He paced the Bengals with seven catches and 82 yards (both career-highs) in a Week 15 loss at San Diego and ranks fifth on the team with 27 receptions.
"When I have an opportunity to catch a ball, I am catching it," Foschi said recently. "You have a guy back there at quarterback (Carson Palmer) who will find you if (you're) open."
Foschi, 27, has primarily contributed as a blocker and special-teams performer throughout his career, and he admits that he's still refining — and, in some ways, getting used to once again — pass-catching aspects of the position.
"I haven't really caught any balls in a long time," he said. "I am getting used to running with the ball."
Foschi has fit right into a Bengals offense that employs a physical running game and an effective, if not explosive, passing game.
"We kind of grind it out," Foschi said. He described the Bengals' offensive attitude this way: "You play hard. You get after people the best you can."
Foschi went undrafted out of Georgia Tech in 2004 and originally signed with the Jets. The Raiders signed him to their practice squad later that season, and he made the active roster in 2005, when he played 10 games, starting five and catching six passes for 37 yards. The Raiders released him the following season.
He spent '07 out of football before reemerging with the Chiefs last season. He played seven games before being released. The Raiders re-signed him this past May but cut him in August. However, he's found a home in Cincinnati.
"I think this is a place where guys have made the most of the opportunities given to them," Foschi said.
That description aptly describes his own experience.
"This is the dream I had in 2007, when I was going to give it one more shot," Foschi said. "I'm living the dream."
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