NY Jets: Exclusive interview with Wesley Walker

Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports /

Wide receiver Wesley Walker of the NY Jets sits with The Jet Press and discusses his past while talking about the bright future of the franchise.

One of the fun parts of reporting for The Jet Press is getting a chance to just talk about football and life, with some of the Jets greats.  To that end, I was able to catch up with one of my all-time favorite player of the Jets, their very own Ring of Honor recipient Wesley Walker.  

He is one of the nicest guys you can meet, and I like that he is always willing to meet and talk with fans.  Being a mom with three boys, I appreciate positive messages he brings and encouragement of chasing dreams no matter who and what brings you down.  Wesley was so gracious, I’m bringing you our conversation as a two-parter.  Hope you like it:

TJP:  Who did you look up to as a kid?

WW:  This may sound crazy to some people but I would say my parents.  They taught me to make good choices and to be a great student.  I even named my son, John Wesley Walker, after my father who passed away at the age of 40 from a heart attack.  Athlete wise, I would have to say O.J. Simpson.  I started my playing football wearing his number, 32.

TJP:  When you played, the Jets were a better team than Miami in the AFC Championship game but the poor field conditions stopped the Jets’ quick strike offense, keeping you out of the Super Bowl.  What was it like to be on a team that almost got to the promised land but didn’t?

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WW:  We had always had success against Miami.  

I mean we planned on going to the Super Bowl.  Our families made plans and were packed to go.  When I woke up that morning to a monsoon, that changed the complexion of the game.  There are rumors that Don Shula may of not covered the field intentionally to stop the running and passing game.

It’s the worse feeling! Heartbreaking!  You have players like Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall who have never been to a playoff and it determines their faith.  When you have young players that just take it for granted, it’s unfortunate too.  Then being asked if we were excited to watch the Super Bowl and to be honest I didn’t care about it at all, we were not in it.

TJP: What is your opinion of Devin Smith?

WW:  He is a rookie in training.  Mike Maccagnan shared some films of him and he reminded me of myself.  He got injured and progressed slowly. The key is longevity and being healthy.  He lacks the confidence, looks lost and not as fast when he was on films and college.  As Bowles would say the key is carrying it from the films to the field in game situations.

TJP:  You were part of a great wide receiver tandem with Al Toon.  How would you rate some the team’s best WR duos?

WW:  My answer is biased, myself and Al Toon.  Besides that, I’d say Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall or maybe Wayne Chrebet and Keyshawn Johnson.  There are just so many different styles over the decade it is impossible to rate or say who is best without lining us all up to race.

TJP: What has being named in the ring of honor meant to you?

WW:  Tremendous honor bestowed by the organization and fans to receive the highest recognition.  I got inducted with Mark Gastineau and was just talking to him about how much we cherished that.

Dec 14, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Jets logo prior to the game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

TJP:  Who do see being inducted next into the ring of honor?

WW:  That is hard one.  I would go with Marvin Powell or Ken O’Brien.

TJP: Where do you see the Jets going in the 2016 NFL Draft?

WW: That is easy, with the best player that’s available.  No one expected Leonard Williams to be drafted but he was the best available.  I didn’t see that much of a pass rush or from the sackers.  The defensive line might be an area again, they are going to look into adding youth and consistency.

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TJP:  I know you took a break from packing for Super Bowl 50 to speak with us but I have to ask, who do did you root for in the big game and why?

WW:   I went with Denver’s great defense and Peyton Manning. Everyone favored the Panthers but I knew an upset could happen. But since I also love Cam Newton, the Panthers are still going to be a well balanced on both sides of the ball next year.  I loved Denver’s defensive pressure which ended up being one of the main reasons why they won.