Updated Sunday, 12:45 a.m. ET
Marty Lyons, welcome to the Ring.
During the first quarter of Saturday night's preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, we surprised Marty Lyons, our radio analyst and former Sack Exchange defensive lineman, when it was announced that Lyons will be inducted into the New York Jets Ring of Honor.
Marty heard radio broadcast partner Bob Wischusen say something about "a special announcement coming up," but thought nothing of it, he said. A few minutes later, Wischusen told him to take a look at the scoreboard.
"You just stop in time and go, 'Wow, me?' " Lyons said.
A tearful Lyons smiled and waved from the ESPN New York 98.7 FM radio booth to the applauding fans as he acknowledged the honor after a video of No. 93 highlights played on the stadium videoboards.
Two questions went through his head when he turned around and saw his two boys and his best friend in the booth with him.
"How did you guys all get up here? And how did you guys all know and not tell me?" he said. "They got me."
After the game, head coach Rex Ryan offered his congratulations as well. "That's definitely deserved and I'm proud to see you in there for sure," Ryan said.
The induction ceremony will be held at halftime of Week 6, when we host the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium on Oct. 13.
"I have between now and then to put together a nice little educated thank you," Lyons said, "and to represent the Jets, represent my teammates, my family, the fans, and hopefully you thank everybody in such a sincere way in such a limited amount of time that they understand just how special this moment really is."
The Jets selected Lyons in the first round (14th overall) of the 1979 draft, and he went on to spend his entire 11-year NFL career wearing green and white. He, along with Mark Gastineau, Joe Klecko and Abdul Salaam, formed the "New York Sack Exchange."
In the early Eighties, the foursome dominated their opponents at the line of scrimmage and terrorized the opposing teams' quarterbacks with a formidable pass rush. No. 93 accumulated 29 sacks (after sacks became an official NFL statistic in 1982) and eight fumble recoveries as a member of that D-line.
Lyons thrived under coach Paul "Bear" Bryant at Alabama, losing a total of five games throughout his four-year collegiate career and helping to lead the Crimson Tide to a national championship in 1978.
In 2003, Lyons was named a member of the Jets' all-time Four Decade Team. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2011, his first year on the ballot.
Marty has worked as an analyst for the New York Jets Radio Network since 2002 and has begun broadcasting games alongside Bob Wischusen for the 12th season.
As great a player and broadcaster as he is, Lyons is just as great a person outside of the stadium.
He established the Marty Lyons Foundation in 1982, an organization that focuses on granting wishes for kids with terminal or life-threatening illnesses. He was named the NFL Man of the Year in 1984 for his commitment to the community, and since 1990 the Green & White have presented an annual Marty Lyons Award to the player who contributes the most to his community.
"Sometimes you have to realize the only way you can truly thank people is the way you live your life and how you're a good reflection on them and the values that they stand for," he said, "and that's what I try to do."
Marty Lyons joins Weeb Ewbank, Winston Hill, Curtis Martin, Don Maynard, Joe Namath, Larry Grantham, Freeman McNeil, Gerry Philbin, Al Toon, Wesley Walker, Klecko and Gastineau as the 13th member in our Ring of Honor. Lyons will fly solo as he represents the Jets' Class of 2013.
"I might be the only one going in, but I'm going to take a few people with me," he said.