Several Pro Football Hall of Famers were in attendance at the Legends Homecoming gathering at MetLife Stadium for the Jets' win over the Jaguars on Sunday.
And in the group of former Jets players was a Hall of Famer-in-waiting. Mike Augustyniak, the Jets' popular fullback in the early Eighties, will be inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame at ceremonies during a game Friday night at his alma mater, Leo High School in Fort Wayne, IN.
"It's quite an honor for me," Augustyniak said. "The way I look at it is it's the culmination of a lot of hard work and it's just exciting to be recognized."
The man who wore No. 35 as a Jet and was known to the Shea Stadium faithful as "Augie" said the game has taught him a lot as he made his way from Leo HS to Purdue University to the Jets and on into the world of insurance, where he is today the president of Augustyniak Insurance Group in Jacksonville, FL.
"The lessons I learned are really something I've taken through my life," he said. "When the going gets rough, through being competitive you get through those things. I was a team player and we had a very tight-knit group of guys, and when you fight the battles with other guys, you really come together."
Augustyniak was probably happiest about the honor because it will reunite him with his high school teammates at the awards dinner. And he was enjoying the Legends weekend in North Jersey for the same reason.
"It's funny, I haven't seen some of these guys for 30 years," he said of his former Green & White teammates. "Walking in, it's just like walking in the locker room again. I've laughed more than I can remember, and we all have kind of the same sense of humor.
"I love these guys, absolutely love them. Coming back here has been really awesome."
Augustyniak was the Jets' starting fullback from 1981-83 and blocked for Freeman McNeil on the 1982 squad that made it all the way to the AFC Championship Game at Miami. He teamed up at one time or another with McNeil, Bruce Harper, Johnny Hector, Kevin Long, Scott Dierking, Tom Newton and Dwayne Crutchfield as the Jets assembled an NFL top-5 rushing attack.
Harper, who also attended the Legends weekend, told Ashley Augustyniak, Mike's daughter, how much he valued Mike for a story Ashley prepared on her dad's HOF induction.
"Our friendship extended beyond the playing field," Harper said. "We were friends not because he was a great player but because of who he is — Augie the person. Well deserved."