I have to take a moment to stand up and applaud not only the NFL, but also the New York Jets for their efforts with bringing back the ‘legends’ into the fold. The Jets over the last several years have had quite the barrier between the organization and it’s past players. It’s been uncomfortable as a fan to see former Jets greats not really make as many public appearances with the Jets brass due to the awkwardness.
But a huge thanks to the Jets for being able to put this together and thanks to their official twitter page for sharing all the images from the fantastic weekend of events. Nearly 50 former Jets were in attendance and took part in training camp activities including: autograph signings, telling old stories, and mending fences.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) August 4, 2015
“Legend doesn’t necessarily mean you played 20 years and you’re in the Hall of Fame like Joe Namath,” said Tony Richardson, the Jets fullback from 2008-10 and now the Northeast Coordinator for NFL Legends. “Legend means you gave your blood, your sweat, your tears, you gave everything to help build this game. So I think you should be honored as a legend. The NFL sees the importance of this and now on the club level the Jets have been awesome, really receptive to everything we’re trying to do. To hear the stories last night, guys rubbing elbows and talking about different eras, is just amazing.”
I think Laveranues Coles encapsulated exactly what legends across the league feel about being brought back into the fold in his interview on newyorkjets.com. It’s also great for the younger fans to be able to see the players that paved the way for the current players to be able to thrive in today’s NFL.
“I’m appreciative they’re saying I’m something like a legend,” said Coles, the wide receiver who made three stops with the Jets during the 2000s. “I get to see guys’ names hung on the wall of the fieldhouse like Al Toon and Wesley Walker that paved the way for younger guys like myself, and to be considered a legend and be in the room with them, taking pictures and doing autographs, I’m thankful the NFL has reached back out to us.”
In conclusion? To be able to take a step back from the grind of the NFL football training camp schedule and give back to the players that gave their hearts, blood, sweat and tears to the organizations they played for is phenomenal. All legends deserve to be treated better, like the article suggested, this went beyond a camp-fire of reminiscing. This is for re-establishing the connection from the past to the present. It’s about filling the legends in on the growing list of benefits available to players.