Head coach Rex Ryan has been preaching the phrase “Play Like A Jet” ever since the man commanded the stage at his first press conference preaching that the Jets would see President Barack Obama in his tenure.
“Play Like a Jet” is not just a phrase, it’s a mantra and he wants it to be a way of life for the current crop of Jets.
But before Ryan was even a glimmer in the eye of current owner Woody Johnson, there a player who always, “Played Like A Jet” and he’s my vote for the 2012 Ring of Honor Class. That would be wide receiver, Wayne Chrebet.
The man overcame a lot of odds to have a successful NFL career, especially his size. He was 5-10, 188 pounds coming into the league. That’s not exactly what you would call a prototypical wide receiver.
The Garfield New Jersey native came out of Hofstra as an undrafted free agent and came into the league with a chip on his shoulder that coach Ryan would approve.
What then transpired over the next 152 games is something that any kid who plays the game should aspire to.
Chrebet stands second all-time in Jets franchise history in receptions with 580. He’s second behind only Don Maynard, who oh by the way, was inducted in the first ring of honor class.
He’s fifth all time in Jets history with 7,365 yards.
The man was Mr. third down. He was the Jets go to guy when the chain gang posted that it was third down. It didn’t matter who was under center, Boomer Esiason or Chad Pennignton, if the Jets to move the sticks; number 80 was called upon and he usually made the play.
The man was a warrior. He threw his body into every play and at the same time, still knew where the ball was and made the catch.
The play below and to the right is just one example of some of the amazing plays that Chrebet made over the years as a Jet.
He was one of the most inspiring athletes I ever watched play any professional sport because of the heart that he had on the field.
Everyone loves to talk about what he who must not be named for the evil empire in Boston but if it wasn’t for Chrebet, then the slot receiver wouldn’t be receiving (no pun intended) the attention that it is getting now.
Every Sunday, if you look around MetLife Stadium and the old Giants stadium, I really think that most of the jerseys that you see from the fans is that of Chrebet’s.
He epitomized the term “Play Like A Jet”, putting his heart and soul and leaving it all out on the field.
He also was the classic definition of the home grown talent and getting to play for your local team.
If anyone deserves a place in the New York Jets Ring of Honor, that would be number 80; Wayne Chrebet.