New York Jets double dip with CFL kickers, work out Lirim Hajrullahu and Sergio Castillo

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

While 3DownNation’s Justin Dunk may have broke the news on Thursday that the New York Jets had scheduled a work out with Canadian kicker Lirim Hajrullahu, it appears the NFL team wasn’t satisfied with hosting just one CFL alumnus.

According to New York Daily News reporter Manish Mehta, the work out Friday featured both Hajrullahu and B.C. Lions opt out Sergio Castillo. The Jets are no stranger to CFL kickers as current leg Sam Ficken beat out former Redblack Brett Maher for the job in training camp.

Hajrullahu was released by the Los Angeles Rams at the end of training camp. He was by far the best statistical kicker, but the Rams chose to start the season with Sam Sloman who LA selected in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL draft. Hajrullahu went 10-for-13 in Los Angeles scrimmages while Sloman hit 8-of-13.

The 30-year-old played Hajrullahu in all 18 regular season games with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2019, converting 47-of-55 field goal attempts (85.5 percent) and 26-of-28 single convert attempts (92.8 percent), while averaging 43.1 yards per punt on 106 attempts.

The five-foot-eleven, 205-pounder ranked tied for first in the CFL in field goals made (47), third in scoring (162 points) and sixth in field goal percentage. Hajrullahu earned division all-star honours for the first time in Hamilton and second time in his career (2016 and 2019).

The 29-year-old Castillo is no stranger to chasing his dream south of the border, having signed with the upstart Alliance of American Football in 2019 and the XFL in 2020. Castillo re-upped with the Leos in April for a CFL season that ended up being canceled. Since his decision to opt out of his CFL contract, Castillo has already had work outs with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns.

The proud Mexican-American enjoyed a career year with the Lions in 2019, making 41-of-45 field goal attempts and hit 30-of-33 convert attempts. He was named a West Division All-Star for his play. He also had 14 punts for 73 yards and a net average of 42.6 yards before Josh Bartel took over those duties in Week 5 of the season.

Prior to signing with the Lions in 2019 training camp, Castillo suited up in 20 games over three seasons (2015-2017) between Winnipeg, Ottawa and Hamilton with whom he made 39-of-47 field goal attempts and missed only two of his 27 attempts on converts.

Both kickers had to go through a stringent regime of tests to make it to the workout and with new limits to the number of players NFL teams are allowed to try-out, both are certainly on the short list should the Jets need an emergency leg in 2020.