Jump to content

Wayne Chrebet On Ring Of Honor, Jets, Football and Kids...


Recommended Posts

A long read but I thought this was interesting...

 

 

Opening Statement…

Obviously, I’m honored to be put in the Ring of Honor. It’s something I’d certainly thought about since I ended playing. (I) didn’t know if that was going to happen, but I’m excited about it (and) my family is excited about it. This brings back a lot of memories to when I played and I’m looking forward to the Monday Night game. I know it’s a tough year and things haven’t gone too well, but hopefully they can have a good game and be the start of a nice winning streak to end the season. So, we’ll see. Hopefully I can get through the speech on the field. I’ll be emotional. (It is) definitely a big honor to be recognized with some of the players, like Joe Namath and (Don) Maynard and guys I grew up watching, (Joe) Klecko and (Mark) Gastineau, and Freeman (McNeil) and Wesley (Walker) and Al Toon. Obviously, the person closest to me was Curtis (Martin). We went to a lot of battles together. We laughed, we cried, we bled together. To be next to him, in any group, is an honor and I’m extremely humbled to be in that group.

 

On the Miami Dolphins…

Yeah, when people ask me who was my favorite team to play, it’s one-A and one-B between the Patriots and the Dolphins. I was fortunate to have some of my best games versus them. My first career game was down there in Miami at the old Joe Robbie Stadium. What’s funny about that, is I know Boomer Esiason tells this story how I’m out there, we’re trying to play and he’s trying to put me in motion and go and I’m looking around. He’s like, “What’s the matter?” and I’m like, ‘That’s Don Shula and Dan Marino over there.’ He’s like, “Alright,” he’s like, “You’ve got to get into the game.” But I was out there pregame throwing the ball around. I’m 21, 22, I see Marino and I’m like, ‘Wow, this is something.’ And obviously, when they called the starting lineups for Miami and he came out I had never heard anything like that before. That’s my first game and I guess they were picked to win back then. That was a great moment and the Monday Night Miracle is certainly a great memory. Any time they play on Monday Night, they show the clips and reshow the game on the TV. Me and Vinny (Testaverde) always laugh about (how) by the end of that game we had run so many plays, the same play over and over, that in the huddle, actually, Vinny’s like, “Do one of these or do one of these,” because it was like we were running out of plays, we ran the same thing. He was like, “Alright, do this one but just kind of hook around.” It was like straight playground football. It’s great that it is a Monday Night game versus Miami.

 

On why he has such a strong connection with Jets fans…

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.

 

On when he realized he could thrive in the NFL…

I guess in the preseason a little bit when I got in (and) really got the time in the Jets-Giants game – which I had a bunch of seats for because I thought maybe that would be the last preseason game I played and I always wanted to play in Giants Stadium. So I figured, hey, I might as well just go out and play my best. Coach Kotite, he started me in the last preseason game and I did well and he took me out and I was like, ‘Listen, I can do more.’ He’s like, “No, you’re done.” I didn’t know what that meant. He was like, “No, go ahead.” I’m like, ‘I don’t know.’ I remember them asking me on the sideline, if I wanted a number what would it be? It was 80 and a couple other choices and I said, ‘I want to be 80. I want to be like (Steve) Largent, I want to be like (Jerry) Rice.’ When I came in the locker room after cuts and I saw the 80 and I got on the field and saw I was starting. After the first game down in Joe Robbie (Stadium), I caught a couple passes and I said, ‘You know what? I can do this. I can be on the field with some of these guys, some of these greats, the defense they had.’ It was right then and there I was like, ‘This could be something special.’ Not 11 years special, but maybe have a good career.

 

On if there was a point in his career when he felt his job was safe…

Yeah, not too long. I understood I’m a starter in the NFL, I’ve got to act like I belong here and I know I should be here. But still every training camp (even though) I had all those catches my rookie year, they still brought in Jeff Graham and drafted Keyshawn (Johnson and) Alex Van Dyke. I don’t know if that was the year Webster Slaughter came in, so there’s always guys coming in to take my job or if I had to slide into the third receiver (role). There was never a training camp where I said, ‘I’ve got this made,’ because there’s always a young guy and that young guy was me and I took the job from (a) veteran so I knew any moment it could be over. I never took (anything) for granted when I went to training camp I was ready to compete and win my job even if I knew I had it going in.

 

On what he thinks of the Jets season…

It’s tough, a tough year. My first year we were 3-13. It was terrible but for me it was different because I kind of had my nose down and I played hard and it just didn’t work out. My friends were busting my chops about how bad we were and I said, ‘Listen, It can’t get any worse,’ (laughter). And then we went 1-15 and I was like, ‘Alright, it can’t get any worse after that.’ It’s tough for them. I see the look on their faces on the sideline and I read their quotes in the paper. The best advice I have is just to go out there and still find a way to have fun and take pride in it. It’s real easy to get distracted and look forward to the offseason when you’re mathematically eliminated more than halfway through the season. I’ve been there. These guys are playing for their contracts (and) playing for their jobs. I feel for them, but they’re not a 1-15, 3-13 kind of team. This team’s got more talent. They’re better. It’s just unfortunate injuries and some tough games and they haven’t pulled them out. It’s tough, but hopefully they finish the year strong.

 

On how getting Bill Parcells as the coach turned the team around…

Right, yeah, a new coach, some new players and you turn things around. But, you’ve got to hang around. You’ve still got to be on the team for that next year. I hate to say it, but some guys are going to go through the motions and some guys are going to look at it as an opportunity to shine in a bad season and that’s what I did. Sometimes it’s not too hard to stand out when people are going through the motions and thinking about just picking up a paycheck and that’s sadly how it gets sometimes. Mentally, you’ve got to be strong. I was telling Dave Szott, even when things were bad some years we had fun, we bounced around, we took pride in practice and you’ve got to lead the young guys. There are a lot of good young guys on this team and the veterans have to be mindful that they’re being followed. Like I said, hopefully they can finish strong.

 

On how he feels physically…

Good days, bad days, more good than bad lately, so that’s good. People ask me a lot about if I would let my kids play and where I stand with that. And I go back and forth on it. Based on how I feel, I never want them to go through that. I’m sure I’ll let them play at some point once they’re physically ready, they’ve got the right coaching that can teach them the right things, I’ll probably actually coach them, and just the understanding of the game because a lot of these kids don’t know as much and they’re not full speed and I think that’s when kids get hurt. So, if they understand the game and the plays and have the knowledge of the system and all that stuff, I think I’m more likely to let them play. But as far as myself, it is what it is. I can’t change how I feel. Am I concerned about the future and what I read about? Me and my wife talk about it and just make the best of it. We go on with our life. I’ve got three great kids, a great wife, a great family and the damage is done. It is what it is. If something happens down the road, so be it, but as of right now we don’t think about the possibilities of future impairments. I played the way I wanted to play even after I had the injuries and I wouldn’t change that because if I did I wouldn’t be respected and appreciated the way I am now. I think if I would have changed the way I played, I don’t think I would have that kind of a following, I guess you could say.

 

On if he has regrets playing football…

No. When you sign up you expose yourself to these things. I knew the risks. If people say they don’t know the risks of playing, I can see it on certain levels, but playing professional footballs where these guys are bigger and stronger, you’ve got guys 300-something points running a 4.8 40. It’s ridiculous. My son wanted to race me and he thinks he’s fast now. He’s going to be 13 and he’s running, he’s doing cross country and playing football. We were at my house and we went out to my gate. My gate to my house is probably 80 yards, 100 yards, whatever it is. I jogged back and forth a couple times. He’s like, “I want to race you.” I’m like, ‘I don’t want to race you.’ He’s like, “Let’s race.” So I said, ‘Alright, touch the gate and when you say “Go,” I’ll go.’ So I’m just holding the gate like this, he’s like, “You ready?” I’m like, “Say go.” He’s like, “Alright.” Obviously, he wasn’t as fast as he thought he was (laughter). About half way down I heard him say, “Oh my God.” So, he’s like, “You’re faster than I thought.” I said, ‘Yeah, I’m a professional football player. I’m 41 but I can still run.’ I said, ‘At least I’ll always have that. You’re never going to be faster than me.’ I will train on the side without him knowing so he’s never faster than me (laughter). So, we see Bryan Thomas in the airport, we came back from Orlando, and I just explained to him he ran a 4.4 coming out in the combine and I’m explaining to him about football. I said, ‘Imagine how fast I am, and him running as fast as he can and we run at each other and hit.’ I liked that. I enjoyed that. I loved the stress of playing. I loved the contact. I miss that. But, I had some high I got over getting a big hit or making a hit if I got somebody or they got me more. But yeah, would I play any other way than what I’m saying? No. It’s not in my DNA. It’s not how I wanted to be.

 

On if he will coach…

I will coach my kids, yeah. As of right now, the responsibility I have, both boys play at different times so it’s tough when I help out. I don’t want to be that guy, the parent that says, “Throw it to my kid.” But when times are tough, my wife’s like, “Go, say something to him, help him out with the plays.” I’ll walk over and I’m like, ‘Just run this play, three by one, they’ve got two guys,’ (laughter). I’m embarrassed. But if they play tackle, I have to be a coach, I have to make sure they’re put in the right situation and know how to tackle and know how to play. I just need to see everything they do, because it’s scary, like I said. You’re hearing all these stories about the young kids getting concussions. And that’s how it was back when I played. I remember getting knocked out and seeing spots and some time lapses I don’t remember. But they didn’t pay attention to that back then. Now they do and it’s great. I like what they’re doing. It’s funny now, guys get their bell rung and they’ve got to go in their locker room and go through the concussion protocol. When I played, I’d come off the sideline slow and I told them, ‘Let me get off the field by myself,’ whatever happened. Back then they’d take your helmet, they’d say, “Remember three words.” I don’t remember any of them right now, and it was like, we’d get the ball, they be punting and I’m like, ‘Alright, give me my helmet.’ They’re like, “No, you can’t go in.” I’m like, ‘Give me my helmet,’ (they said) “Well, you have to sit.” I said, ‘Listen, if you don’t give me my helmet, I’m going to kick your ass right now on the sideline,’ (laughter). (They said) “Here’s your helmet.” It was different back then. It’s fun just how different it was. I don’t know. Obviously, it’s good for the game, but I couldn’t play that way.

 

On if his kids play flag football…

They play flag. I’ve got one kid that’s really fast and can catch and I’ve got one kid that can really catch, probably as good as me. He can catch anything. I walk in the house, he’s got a ball. I get up after dinner, he’s got a ball. We go from the walk from the car into the shopping mall and he’s got a ball and then we just play nonstop. Except that he’s slow, which makes it tough (laughter).

 

On whether he’s slower son is his younger son…

Yeah. I’m like, ‘You might be small, but you’re slow,’ (laughter). I’ve got two great kids and they’ve played flag for the last couple year. My kids played in the Super Bowl actually last week and he did great. They understand the game now. They’ll probably play tackle at least one year maybe before high school to see if they’ll go to a high school with (a football team). One school down by us, Christian Brothers Academy, doesn’t have a football team, but it’s a very good school and that might be the reason I let them play in eighth grade to see if they go to that school or not. Otherwise, you guys know I started playing when I was 15, sophomore in high school and for me I guess that was the right time. For them, we’ll see.

 

On the victory at Tampa Bay in 2000 and his relationship with Keyshawn Johnson…

I don’t remember as much about the game. My memory’s spotty. I remember it rained (like) crazy before the game, then it got really hot. They were a good team at the time. I think we might’ve been one loss or undefeated. People built that up and Al Groh was the coach. He did the thing with the flashlight. It was pretty funny. Corny, but it was funny. He did stuff like that. What was the one thing he said, “Put your face in the fan?” I never got that (laughter). Who would want to put your face in the fan? Picture that. If you put your finger in that’s bad enough. Yeah, it just turned out that way. He didn’t have the big stats and I caught the touchdown, but I guess it was poetic justice. And I remember because I just signed the picture for the equipment guy. It was the picture of that catch and I’ve seen the catch over and over. If you guys don’t realize what Curtis did, if you ever saw, we called the halfback pass and I come in and I make believe I (am cracking the linebacker). I have been cracking the guy all day and then finally I fake and I go. Before the play, he’s coming out of the huddle and he starts taking off his glove and I’m like, “You are kind of giving away that you might be throwing it?’ And then when he gets in the stance he just drops his glove to the ground. He threw a hell of a duck, but I caught it and it is one of the best memories given the circumstances of how important the game was and what the history was between me and Key. As far as now, if I saw him, I’d say hello and I’d reminisce, whatever. I have no ill feelings toward the guy. When me and him played together, you’d have a great argument that we we’re one of the best tandems in the league, especially in ’98. We blocked for each other. A lot of people said that we blocked for each other, but what people don’t realize is I run some routes where I’m going out (and) if he doesn’t do his job and make that guy run with him, he’s going to see me a light me up. Things like that. We took care of each other, we practiced. We weren’t going to go out and break bread together, but I respect the guy. I respect that he’s made a career for himself after football. He got a Super Bowl ring right? So, obviously (I’m) jealous about that, but it wasn’t as big as people thought it was. It’s a great story that I caught the pass and won it, but all that, there’s no animosity there. I wish him the best. That’s all high school stuff back then. That stuff doesn’t matter now. I appreciate all the players I played with and guys that I met and he’s one of those guys.

 

On how old his kids are…

12, 10 and three. All boys. All psychos (joking). Yeah, it’s mayhem. But they play flag football, basketball, baseball, soccer, travel soccer, travel basketball and they’re both secondary black belts in taekwondo. So, me and my wife are just like a taxi service. And it’s a fight who gets the three-year-old. It’s tough. But, my kids stay active. I let them play and at some point they’ll get a little lighter schedule. But yeah, they play everything. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's funny with Chrebet. I was a huge fan, then came the somersault in Chicago and I swore off him for a little while. But after watching the culture of this organization since his time and one douchebag after another be a part of this organization, particularly under the loudmouth asshat that is our current coach, I miss the sh*t out of him.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's funny with Chrebet. I was a huge fan, then came the somersault in Chicago and I swore off him for a little while. But after watching the culture of this organization since his time and one douchebag after another be a part of this organization, particularly under the loudmouth asshat that is our current coach, I miss the sh*t out of him.

 

Do you recall the catch he made, holding onto the ball, even after being knocked unconscious? Nails, indeed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



×
×
  • Create New...