In the NFL universe, when the words Patriots and Jets are mentioned in the same sentence, it's usually in the context of the two teams' storied rivalry.
Not so next month, however, when one Patriot will experience what it's like to fly in a fighter jet.
Michael Hoomanawanui is scheduled to become a free agent when the new NFL year begins on March 11. But a week before that, on March 3, the current Patriots tight end is going to be a guest passenger inside an F/A-18 Hornet with the famous Blue Angels of the United States Navy.
Hooman, as he's known to teammates, and St. Louis Rams punter Johnny Hekker were the two players chosen this year to take part in what has become a tradition between the NFL and Blue Angels (former Patriots linebacker and special teams captain Larry Izzo took a similar flight several years ago).
In a statement announcing the planning flight, Hooman called the invitation to fly with the Blue Angels a childhood dream come true.
"I've been to a lot of places, met a lot of people, and seen a lot of things," said Hooman, who grew up in Illinois and attended air shows with family and friends, "but flying in a jet may just top them all. I am honored to have this opportunity."
Hooman's pilot will be Lieutenant Ryan Chamberlain, the Blue Angels Narrator and VIP Pilot, who also happens to be a fellow native of Bloomington, Illinois, and a Central Catholic High School graduate like Hooman.
According to the official announcement, Hoomanawanui and Hekker were nominated for these prestigious flights by the Blue Angels crew of the Navy due to their leadership, positivity, and impact in their respective communities.