By: Spencer Aber – jetswire.usatoday.com
The Jets only drafted one offensive lineman, but they signed four as undrafted free agents.
New Mexico’s Teton Saltes was one of them. He played in 28 games for the Lobos, primarily at right tackle. Saltes recorded a 96.7 percent and 97.7 percent pass-blocking efficiency rating in his sophomore and junior seasons, respectively.
The Jets could use some depth behind their starting tackles, Mekhi Becton and George Fant, as Chuma Edoga is the only experienced backup at the moment. If Saltes can make the team, it would be as a backup tackle.
With that said, let’s take a look at some things to know about the Jets’ newest offensive lineman.
Saltes’ great uncle is former NBA player World B. Free, who played from 1975-1988 and had one All-Star appearance in 1980 with the San Diego Clippers. Free also played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets throughout his 14-year NBA career.
Saltes’ father, Fontaine, played basketball at Weber State. His mother, Laticia DeCroy, played basketball and ran track at BYU.
Saltes advocated for a few causes when he wasn’t busy with football as a college student.
He went to Washington, D.C. in 2019 with the Save the Children Advocacy Network to speak to members of the United States Congress on behalf of indigenous children and people. Then, in the spring of 2020, Saltes spoke with members of the New Mexico Legislature about mental health initiatives for student-athletes in the state.
Started football late
He lettered in basketball at Valley High School, where his team won the state title when he was a sophomore. It wasn’t until Saltes’ junior year that he decided to play football.
He was a defensive lineman in high school and was named Second Team 6A All-State. Saltes ended up moving from the defensive line to the offensive line a week before the start of the 2017 season with New Mexico.
Native American roots
Saltes, an active member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, lived on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota until his mother got into medical school in New Mexico. Each summer, he returns to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota to participate in the Ogala Lakota ceremony.
Saltes also takes time to mentor young children on the reservation and raise awareness about suicide for Native Americans in the United States.