The New York Jets took a visit to the World Trade Center site yesterday, showing their respect to the site and appreciation to the workers that are rebuilding the hallowed ground.
All players, coaches and front office visited the site, where they surprised workers during lunch.
“We’re taking a tour and showing how much we appreciate them,” coach Rex Ryan said. “We’re seeing some of the work and passing along our appreciation.”
“It was really cool just to see — obviously, it’s been a while since 9/11 — the towers get back up,” tight end Dustin Keller said. “It’s hard to explain — so many people here lost family members or friends, or knew somebody. It’s kinda touching when you think about it, all the lives lost, and to get the building back up there … it’s awesome.
“They (the builders) showed us pictures of the old towers and the design of what it’s gonna look like. It’s just amazing, 3,500 guys working around the clock working on that project and nothing else. That’s crazy to think about. We let it all soak in.
“One building is 84 stories high, and there are 20 more stories to go.”
Workers were obviously happy to see the team and even started an impromptu ‘J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!’ chant.
“Everybody was just kinda in awe,” Keller said.
Asked why the Jets took the team to Ground Zero, Keller said: “9/11 is a huge part of the history of New York City. We’re the New York Jets, and we should know our history.”
Several of Keller’s teammates Tweeted their experience after the visit on Twitter.
“Very humbling experience,” tweeted cornerback Antonio Cromartie. “Just walked out to see Ground Zero. A really heart felt experience God Bless everyone.”
Outside linebacker Aaron Maybin tweeted, “Visiting the World Trade Center site with the rest of the D. Powerful.”
Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum said the experience was moving.
“When you think about the fact that 3,000 people got up that morning and all they wanted to do was go to work — they weren’t doing anything reckless, they weren’t taking any chances — they just wanted to go to work and they lost their lives. When you think about that, it’s hard not be moved,” Tannenbaum said.
A spokesman for the Port Authority said the visit was a great thing for the workers.
“It was a great morale boost for the thousands of construction workers that are there around the clock and our police officers and security workers,” PA spokeswoman Jamie Loftus said.
The Jets open their 2011 season on September 11 against the Dallas Cowboys at 8pm.