Catch Up with the Former Jets Edge RusherJim Gehman
You can't buy experience, but it can land in your lap.
Two games into 2017 season, his fifth in the NFL and with his fourth team, defensive end/linebacker David Bass was waived by the Seattle Seahawks and immediately claimed by the Jets.
"My reaction was kind of mixed because I found after playing for so many teams and experiencing different cultures, I had realized Seattle was special. Seattle had a great culture, great work ethic. The coaches actually cared about the players. And I felt like it was more than more than football. A lot of people preach brotherhood and things like that, and I felt like I found it," Bass said.
"So I was kind of up and down because I didn't know how the culture would be in New York. I didn't know what to expect. I've got to learn a new playbook. And I'm on the complete opposite coast.
"But New York was exciting because I'd never really spent time in New York. So going there, it's going to be super cool. I looked at the record and the history of the Jets, so I wasn't too excited about that, but I felt like the move for me was right. Trying to get on the field, I didn't feel like there was somebody that was going to be dominating as far as playing time. It was going to be pretty much open scratch so where we can all compete and get a fair chance."
Bass played better than fairly well in his first two games as a Jet. In the Week 3 game against Miami at MetLife Stadium, he sacked Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler and had three solo tackles in New York's 20-6 win.
The following game against Jacksonville, the Missouri Western State product who had been drafted in the seventh round by Oakland in 2013, sacked Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles and had six tackles, three solo, in the 23-20 overtime victory.
"I just went out and tried to do my job," Bass said. "I was happy because you're coming to a new team, and in a sense, you have to show what you're capable of if you want to continue to stay there and play."
In Week 5, making his first start for the Jets, Bass not only contributed with three tackles, two solo, during a 17-14 win in Cleveland, he also returned the opening kickoff 10 yards.
"I don't know how that happened," Bass laughed. "I don't know why I was back there in the first place. I was actually meant to block and the kick ended up being bad, so it worked out."
Unfortunately for the Jets, things did not work out too well that season. Those three victories accounted for more than half of what coach Todd Bowles' team notched in the 5-11 campaign.
Coincidentally, their fourth victory of the year, a nationally-televised Thursday night home game on November 2 against the Buffalo Bills, is one of Bass' fondest memories from his short stint with the Jets.
"It was a Color Rush (uniform) game and the entire team was dancing on the field (following the 34-21 win). That energy right there was crazy," Bass said. "It was something you don't see too often in sports, where everybody was out having a good time. Just to see people loving what they're doing and entertaining the fans, I think that was definitely my fondest memory there."
Another one is the fans.
"Jet fans are loyal. They're real," Bass said. "I say that because we didn't have the best record, and so for them to constantly show up and still have the energy they did, the faith and belief, that's something you can't take for granted.
"I think when everything is good, it's good with a lot of teams. But when you experience some adversity like that, and the fans continue to show up and support you, you've got to appreciate that."
In the NFL for five seasons with Chicago, Tennessee, Seattle, as well as the Jets, what makes Bass most proud of his career?
"The fact that I simply got a chance to turn my dream into a reality," he said. "Coming from St. Louis, I was never a sought-after athlete from Little League to high school to college. I would love to have played D-1. I would love to have been drafted in the top three rounds. I would love to have made millions of dollars and been a household name. But the fact that I did make it, I had a chance and built relationships. I got the chance to experience different cities and compete against the best. That all was worth it to me."
Making their home in North Dallas, Bass and his wife, Jahnene, have two children: NaRiyah and David III. He owns The Exercise Coach franchise in McKinney, Texas.
"As a transition, I took some time off just to kind of relax, sit back, enjoy my family," Bass said. "And I went through the pandemic thinking, alright, when we come out of this, I've got to be a part. Whether I was working, volunteering, I just wanted to do something primarily because of my two kids. They watched me every day and I didn't want to see them watching me sit around the house, wake up and didn't do anything like money grows on trees.
"I needed my daughter and my son to see me grinding, so I can instill that same work ethic in them that my mom instilled in me. And not only by saying much, but by me simply watching her and knowing whatever we want, we can work towards.
"It led me to a few things. Not necessarily knowing what I wanted to do, but knowing that I didn't want to go work a nine-to-five job somewhere and not have any flexibility. I felt like I was in a position to where we had saved enough money to where we can go ahead and safely step out on faith and invest into something that was unique. And that ended up being The Exercise Coach. We opened April 6 of 2021, and so far, so good."
What does Bass enjoy most about what he's doing?
"Hearing results. Hearing success stories," he said. "We work with a 40-and-over demographic, so I'm not training prime athletes all day. It's people that literally may come in here, and they can't sit down or get up out of the car without pulling on something. Or can't tie their shoe. Or are dealing with weight-loss issues, metabolism issues, bone density issues, whatever the case may be. We're able to give them another option of strength training in a safe fashion.
"And hearing stories like, 'Hey, I lost weight, but my bone density went up.' Or 'I tied my shoe for the first time in five years.' Or 'I was playing with my grandkids and I got up off the floor. Normally somebody will have to help me.' When you're healthy and everything's going well, you may take that for granted. But when you're hearing it from somebody who's 50-, 60-, 70-, 80-years old, it's like, 'Wow, you know, through hard work, this is possible."