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Jaydon Mickens went from sleeping in his car to catching touchdowns

Jaydon Mickens is becoming my favorite player — and if he’s not that for you already, he will be.

After being signed by the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted free agent (he wasn’t invited to the 2016 NFL Combine) he made their practice squad. He was cut, re-signed, cut, re-signed, and then cut for a third time in a year before being signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars and placed on their practice squad.

But Mickens knows that life in the NFL, even on the practice squad, can be fleeting.

“You can go into an offseason and not get paid for six months,” Mickens told the Florida Times-Union earlier this month. “I would rather save every check if I’m on the practice squad for the whole year and have something to fall back on.”

To save money during that time Mickens said he and fellow wide receiver Larry Pinkard would forego apartments or houses and park their cars at downtown hotels and go to sleep.

“If you’re on a month or year lease, you can’t break it,” Mickens said. “I didn’t know how long I was going to be here. You can be here for two weeks and then gone tomorrow.”

But then Mickens was called up to the active roster just before the team’s Week 7 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts.

Since then he’s collected one punt return touchdown, an even longer return to the 1-yard line that set up an easy Leonard Fournette score, and now two receiving touchdowns last week, things are looking a little more certain. Instead of making $6,500 a week on the practice squad he’s now pulling in the rookie minimum — $465,000 a year.

“I’m feeling blessed,” Mickens told NFL Network’s Deion Sanders after his first two career receiving touchdowns. “It’s something that, for me, was long overdue. I’ve been practice squad, undrafted — should’ve been drafted — watched the Combine, watched these things happen, being told I was too small and could only do punt return. I didn’t think that was the case so I just kept grinding. I just want these young kids to keep grinding and keep their head down. The feeling is great.”

Jaydon Mickens is becoming my favorite player — and if he’s not that for you already, he will be.