Jayrone Elliot can't really help it.
It's just who he is.
It's why he earned the nickname "Mr. Friendly" during his playing days at Glenville High School in Ohio.
He earned that name off the field by how he treated his peers. He earned it on the field by how he treated opposing quarterbacks, helping them up off the ground after recording a sack.
"I stayed in his face all the time about that," said Ted Ginn Sr., Elliot's high school coach. "He's such a nice guy. He'd give you his last dollar and give you his shirt off his back. We fought with that all the time. He was almost too nice. He would destroy himself to give you his right arm. That's just the type of kid he was."
Elliott, now trying to land a spot on the Saints roster as a linebacker, says it's just how he was raised.
His father was in his life, but he grew up in a single parent home with his mom.
"They always taught me to treat people the way you want to be treated," Elliott said. "My mom was always working and I was staying with friends a lot, so I had to build good relationships. I knew I couldn't be staying at people's house if I had a bad attitude. So me bouncing around helped me become friendly. I wish I had a bit more of a mean streak in me, but at the same time, I'm just having fun playing football."
Elliott has scaled back some on some of that friendliness, though. He didn't help Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Tanner Lee up after the 2½ sacks and two forced fumbles he had in the Saints' 24-20 preseason opening victory Thursday night. Instead, he stood up and flexed his muscles after his first time getting to the quarterback. It capped a breakout week for Elliott, who also recorded a sack on the final play of practice last Monday.
"I think I got off on the right track, put some good stuff on film," Elliott said about his first game as a Saint. "We are all competing for a roster spot, so I'm just trying to take it day by day, brick by brick. Plant some good bricks out there."
This is Elliott's fifth season in the NFL.
Undrafted out of Toledo in 2014, he played his first three seasons with the Green Bay Packers, primarily on special teams. He was traded to the Dallas Cowboys last September but cut less than three weeks later, ending his season.
"It was real humbling," Elliott said. "At the same time, I was just trusting the process and always waiting on the next opportunity."
Despite not being on a team, he treated every week last season like it was game week. He worked out on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Then he'd take a day off on Fridays and hit the field again on Saturdays.
"On Sunday, I was in the airport going to try out for different teams," he said. "From Week 3 to the last playoff game."
He said he tried out for at least 20 teams a year ago. The Saints signed him in February to a reserve/futures contract.
"I had plenty of workouts and I was waiting on that one team to call, and the Saints took the bait, and I'm blessed to be here," he said.
He's looking to become the newest alum from football factory Glenville High to suit up for the Saints, joining the trio of Ted Ginn Jr., Marshon Lattimore and Justin Hardee.
Is there something in the water at Glenville?
"We are just built differently," Elliot said. "We know where we come from and we know where we want to go. We work for everything we've got. ... It's been like a dream come true. We all dream of getting out of Cleveland and making it to the big league. It's a blessing to have four on one team. But it's just preseason. I'm trying to make the actual team. Those guys made it last year and hopefully we can all do it this year."
All four are part of a group text messaging with other former Glenville Tarblooders across the league.
Ted Ginn Jr. is the oldest among the group and has known Elliott since he was a kid.
"He's a player you can line up wherever you want to and he's going to make a play," Ginn Jr. said.
Sean Payton said Friday that he likes what Elliott brings as a pass rusher as well as on special teams.
Elliott said he doesn't really care where he plays.
"Some guys get bounced out this league and that's it," Elliot said. "The Saints gave me a blessing and gave me a chance to get back in the league. I'm blessed for that. But at the same time I have to reward them for taking a chance on me."