Marty Lyons, one of the greatest Jets to have ever played and an even greater person off the field, has entered the New York Jets Ring of Honor.
"Marty will never be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame," Bob Wischusen, his partner in the radio booth, said. "He's not going to see his bust some day in Canton. But some players mean more to their team and more to their community than the outside world will ever understand.
"If there was a hall of fame that combined athletic achievement with charity, benevolence, love, being a great father and a great friend, Marty Lyons would be a first-ballot inductee."
After accepting a Jets ring from Woody Johnson, Lyons addressed the entire Jets organization, past and present, the fans, members of the Marty Lyons Foundation, and 60 family members and friends who traveled from as far as Alabama and Florida to attend today's halftime ceremony.
"Thirty-four years being a member of the New York Jets organization has been very special," Lyons said. "So I stand here today to thank you for making me the person I am today."
Selected by the Jets out of Alabama in the first round of the 1979 draft, Lyons went on to play 147 games for the Green & White across 11 seasons. He and teammates Mark Gastineau, Joe Klecko and Abdul Salaam formed one of the most impressive defensive fronts in the history of the NFL, the "New York Sack Exchange."
While he terrorized opposing players during games, however, "Some have also seen him embrace a dying child or a grieving parent with 100 times the ferocity that he did opposing quarterbacks," Wischusen said.
That soft side led to Lyons establishing in 1982 the Marty Lyons Foundation, which has granted over 6,000 wishes for kids fighting for their lives in the three decades since. He was named the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year in '84.
Marty Lyons' name and number will now forever be immortalized along with our 12 other Ring of Honor members: Weeb Ewbank, Winston Hill, Curtis Martin, Don Maynard, Joe Namath, Larry Grantham, Freeman McNeil, Gerry Philbin, Al Toon, Wesley Walker, Klecko and Gastineau, most of whom shared the MetLife Stadium turf for the ceremony.
"It's hard to put it all together," Marty's son Jesse said, "but thank you is really what he wants to say to the Jets organization and to all the Jets fans. He's accomplished a lot and received a lot of honors, but I feel like this is the greatest one. It really does mean a lot to him."
"On behalf of my family, my friends, my teammates, from all the fans up top to all the fans over here, to all the fans in the end zone and all the fans out there," our newest Ring of Honor member said, pointing to each corner of the stadium, "it's truly an honor and a privilege for me to represent each and every one of you as we get inducted to the New York Jets Ring of Honor.
"My name will always be your name and we will be united forever as one."
For more on the life of Marty Lyons read NewYorkJets.com Editor-in-Chief Randy Lange's article from earlier this week.