In this series, we’ll be highlighting a different player from the New York Jets’ storied past. Today, we take a look at defensive end John Abraham.
One of the most prolific pass rushers in Jets history, John Abraham made a huge mark on the team’s record books, despite playing just six seasons in New York.
The No. 13 overall pick in the 2000 NFL draft out of South Carolina, Abraham was one of four first-round selections the Jets made in that draft, joining quarterback Chad Pennington, tight end Anthony Becht and defensive end Shaun Ellis.
Abraham spent the first five years of his NFL career with the Gang Green, but would remain a productive pass rusher elsewhere throughout the rest of his time in the pros. After leaving New York, he spent seven seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, then finished his career with a two-year stint with the Arizona Cardinals.
Abraham finished his 15-year NFL career as a five-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro (three first-team). He made three of his five Pro Bowls as a member of the Jets, and earned his first All-Pro nod in just his second season in the league in 2001. That year, Abraham posted 13 sacks, leading the league with six forced fumbles.
One of the best of his generation at getting to the quarterback, Abraham tallied double-digit sacks in eight of his 15 NFL seasons, three of which came with the Jets. He barely missed that threshold in two others seasons with 9.5 sacks.
Despite playing just six seasons with the Jets, he still ranks No. 3 on the team’s all-time sack list with 53.5, trailing only Ellis and Mark Gastineau. For comparison, Ellis tallied his 72.5 sacks over 170 games with the Jets, while Gastineau took 137 games to post his 74 career sacks. Abraham posted his 53.5 sacks over just 70 games in New York.
Abraham’s 17 forced fumbles are the second-most in Jets history, trailing only Mo Lewis.
He remained effective long after leaving New York, posting a career-high 16.5 sacks for the Falcons in 2008 at the age of 30. Abraham had four of his eight double-digit sack seasons after turning 30 years old, including 11.5 for the Cardinals in 2013 at 35 years old.
Abraham’s 133.5 combined career sacks currently rank 12th in NFL history, while his 47 career forced fumbles are third-most in league history, trailing only Robert Mathis and Julius Peppers.
Even though he had plenty of success with other teams after leaving New York, Abraham will always be considered one of the best defensive players in Jets history.