Wayne Chrebet: “They’d Call Me ‘Everyman'”

By Alan Schechter

Wayne Chrebet was beloved by New York Jets fans. From obscurity at Hofstra to stardom with the Jets, Wayne Chrebet was the “Rudy” of real life, performing at his highest and doing it the way everyone should, with hard work. If anyone ever lived the phrase, “Play like a Jet”, it was Wayne Chrebet. It was that performance and work ethic that resonated with New York Jets fans.

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Chrebet talked to the media about that connection with the fans this week when he met with them in anticipation of his Monday night tribute:

I don’t know. They took to me right away. They’d call me “Everyman” or (say I) represent the Average Joe, the average guy, size, where I was from, blue collar and I knew that and I felt like I wanted to carry the torch for that. I told people I was in the same position scalping tickets on Route 17 for row triple-z up at the top. I knew what the fans wanted to see. I knew growing up watching guys fight for the extra yard, the extra inch, how the crowd responded to it. One of my favorite players was Mark Bavaro. I remember him just dragging guys and carrying guys, not that I could ever do that, but I knew if I fought and kept the play alive, just the anticipation of if you keep pushing and pushing the crowd got into it. It’s kind of like the guy trying to stretch a double into a triple, how fans get excited about that. I felt like that was the same thing and I always wanted to give the fans a reason to get on their feet and they appreciated that and I appreciated that back and I played that way for 11 years. Fortunately, I still see a lot of (number) 80’s when I go to the stadium with my kids (and) they just count how many they see at the tailgate. I’m humbled by that. I never thought that would be the case nine years after I stopped playing.

Wayne Chrebet takes his rightful place in the Ring of Honor at halftime on Monday night. We can only hope that the Jets honor his night with at least a decent performance.