In this series, we’ll be highlighting a different player from the storied past of the New York Jets. Today, we take a look at outside linebacker Calvin Pace.
Though he didn’t join the Gang Green until later in his career, Calvin Pace made a significant impact in New York, finishing his tenure as one of the most productive pass-rushing specialists in Jets history.
A first-round pick in the 2003 NFL draft out of Wake Forest, Pace spent the first five seasons of his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals. Though he started 16 games as a rookie, Pace would only make six starts over the next three seasons before starting all 16 in his final season with the Cardinals.
Pace joined the Jets prior to the 2008 season, and would spent the final eight years of his 13-year NFL run in New York. He immediately jumped into the starting lineup, proving to be a valuable playmaker off the edge. In his first year with the Jets, Pace tallied seven sacks, forcing five fumbles and recovering four fumbles, taking one for a touchdown.
He posted eight sacks the following season, and while his sack numbers dipped over the next three years, Pace posted a career-high 10 sacks in 2013 at the age of 33.
While Pace only managed 14 sacks over five seasons in Arizona, he finished his Jets career with 46 sacks. That mark ranks No. 5 on the Jets’ all-time list, trailing only Mark Gastineau, Shaun Ellis, John Abraham and Mo Lewis.
Pace’s 16 forced fumbles while playing for the Jets are third-most in team history, behind only Abraham and Lewis.
He never made the Pro Bowl, nor did he earn All-Pro honors, but Pace will still go down as one of the best pass rushers in Jets history.