Wayne Chrebet Announces His Retirement
New York Jets wide receiver Wayne Chrebet today announced his retirement from professional football.
Chrebet, 32, played his entire career (1995-2005) in a Jets uniform. As a rookie free agent in 1995, Chrebet moved from last on the depth chart that season during training camp, to opening day starter. He played in 152 career regular season games, starting 105, and owns a career receiving average of 12.7 and 41 touchdowns. In the postseason, he played in six games, making five starts and recorded 19 catches for 269 yards for a 14.2 average and two scores.
Chrebet retires with the second-most pass receptions in New York Jets history with 580 career receptions during regular season play and the third-most receiving yardage with 7,365. He trails only Hall of Fame wide receiver Don Maynard (627) in the receptions category and Maynard (11,732) and WR Wesley Walker (8,306) in the receiving yardage department. His 41 career touchdowns rank eighth all-time in New York Jets history among scoring by non-kickers, while his 246 career points scored place him 12th all-time in team scoring. His 7,363 yards from scrimmage place him fifth all-time in the Jets' record books, trailing only RB Curtis Martin (12,495), WR Don Maynard (11,757), RB Freeman McNeil (11,035), and WR Wesley Walker (8,341). Chrebet suffered a concussion on November 6, 2005 in the fourth quarter of the Jets' 31-26 loss to the San Diego Chargers, and was subsequently placed on the Jets' injured reserve list the following day.
The 5-10, 188-pound, former collegiate walk-on and NFL rookie free agent, played his 11 seasons with the Jets after a stellar collegiate career at Hofstra University. He grew up in Garfield, NJ, just 15 minutes from The Meadowlands and makes his home in Colts Neck, N.J., as well as a seasonal-home on Long Island. Among all-time NFL players who were undrafted, Chrebet owns the third-most receptions ever, trailing only Denver's Rod Smith (754) and former Washington Redskin Gary Clark (699).
During his playing career, Chrebet caught passes from 13 different players, including: Boomer Esiason, Bubby Brister, Glenn Foley, Frank Reich, Neil O'Donnell, Ray Lucas, Vinny Testaverde, Rick Mirer, Tom Tupa, Curtis Martin, Chad Pennington, Quincy Carter and Brooks Bollinger. Chrebet recorded his lone 1,000 yard receiving season in 1998 when he caught the second-most passes in a season (75) for a career-high 1,083 yards and eight scores. He recorded his career-high 84 receptions in his second season with the Jets, 1996, for 909 yards and three scores. In 2002, his nine touchdowns etched his single-season highest output for touchdowns in a season.
He played in the third-most regular season games ever (152) among Jets' wide receivers, trailing only Maynard (172) and Walker (154). Chrebet was a clutch third down receiver, with 379 first downs receiving, but also registered 50 receptions throughout his career for 25 or more yards. Chrebet also averaged four yards after the catch during his career, the second-highest average among all-time Jets, trailing only current Jet Laveranues Coles' average of 4.3 yards (these stats began being recorded in 1991).
Known primarily as a possession receiver throughout his career, Chrebet still possessed sneaky speed and elusiveness. His longest career reception came against the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 12, 1997 when he caught a 70-yard pass from O'Donnell that set-up a Jets' score on the next play.
One of the defining plays of Chrebet's illustrious professional career occurred in game four of his rookie season when he turned a five-yard reception into a 32-yard gain, breaking four Atlanta Falcons tackles along the far sideline and taking the ball to the brink of the goal-line.
He also served as the Club's primary punt return man in 1996, with 28 punt returns for 139 yards. In 2002, he attempted his only career pass attempt, although it was an incompletion.
As a collegian, Chrebet was a two-year starter for the then Hofstra Flying Dutchmen and a four-year letterman who set then school-records for touchdowns in a game (five), season (16) and career (31) and the single-game yardage mark (245 vs. Delaware). He also tied Jerry Rice's NCAA record for touchdown receptions in a game with five in that same game against the Delaware Blue Hens.
At Garfield High School, Chrebet was an all-county and all-area selection in football and also lettered in basketball and baseball.
Chrebet has also been a popular figure in community relations throughout his career with the Jets, having worked very closely with several different charities and youth-initiatives throughout his career. Chrebet, though, has devoted a large portion of his efforts to helping raise funds and awareness for The Colleen Giblin Foundation, a charitable foundation that strives to find new treatments and cures for children with neurological diseases.
Chrebet and his wife, Amy, are the parents of two young sons, Lukas Kane and Cade Jagger. In his free time, Chrebet enjoys spending time with his family, working out, golfing and tending to his successful stable of harness racing horses, which he races throughout the East Coast and Canada.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT WAYNE CHREBET
New York Jets Owner & CEO Woody Johnson:"His story is one that has been told countless times, but bears repeating. He overcame the doubters with persistence and hard work and talent and he followed his dreams. He represented the Jets with class and dignity. We are thankful he is part of our franchise's fabric."
New York Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum:"Wayne Chrebet was a one of a kind player. I spoke a few months ago about turning over every rock in an effort to find the types of players we want on our team. In 1995, that kind of player walked across Hempstead Turnpike and had to convince Harry Fisher, our security guard at the time, to let him into Weeb Ewbank Hall as a rookie free agent. And here we are 12 years later, celebrating a wonderfully productive football career, entirely the New York Jets. I hope that we are able to find more "rocks" from the likes of which produced Wayne.
New York Jets Head Coach Eric Mangini:"He's inspiring to players, coaches and fans. He was a fun player to cheer for because of how he came into the league and how much he appreciated his opportunities. As a coach, you hope that all of your players have his level of dedication, toughness and professionalism. You are always grateful to have a player of his caliber on your team, but as an opposing coach, you're disappointed to have to face him. When I personally coached against him, we spent countless hours and reps trying to stop Wayne Chrebet and were rarely successful. I wish him nothing but happiness and success in his future endeavors."
Charlie Weis, Notre Dame Head Coach; Jets' Assistant Coach 1997-1999: "Wayne's two greatest strengths as a player were as a slot receiver and as a blocker. You could line him up in the slot and no one could cover him. He was also a dominating and willing blocker and as tenacious as they come. Wayne could play on my team any day."
Boomer Esiason, Studio Analyst, CBS Sports, New York Jets quarterback 1993-1995:"He is a testament to what hard work and desire can do for somebody. His career has been fantastic and although he's never been to a Pro Bowl in my eyes he's a Pro Bowl teammate. When he arrived at Hofstra I didn't know who he was. I thought he was a ball-boy. I think he was probably 10th on the depth chart at wide receiver. What I do remember is how eager he was to learn, how eager he was to work, and how hard he worked because he wanted it more than anybody in the room. In my estimation he will go down as one of the greatest Jets of all time because he did it for the little guy and the little guy showed what a big heart could do. He had a wonderful career that nobody believed that he could accomplish. He did it with dignity, he did it with class, and he's been a great friend, and I know nothing but good things for him will happen in the future."
Bill Parcells, Dallas Cowboys Head Coach, Jets' Head Coach and Director of Football Operations, 1997-1999, 2000: "Wayne was a player any coach would have been happyto have. He proved year-after-year that size is not really a prerequisite. He certainly is to be listed among the all-time New York Jet players and among the best I have been fortunate to have coached."
Don Maynard, Hall of Fame Wide Receiver: "He came to play. He's a winner and always will be a winner."
Ray Mickens, New York Jets CB 1995-2004, Cleveland Browns 2005, New York Jets 2006:"He was the toughest football player and competitor I have ever been associated with, that I've ever seen. That guy right there is the epitome of what football means to me."
Phil Simms, CBS Lead Analyst: "I used to get upset when I saw articles that said Wayne Chrebet is an overachiever. I felt it did him a major disservice. He is a man with talent and toughness and he took it on the field and achieved. He got as much out of his talent as about any player I have seen in a long, long time. He's an achiever. He reached his potential, something we all strive to accomplish. He can go and retire and feel good that he gave it his best and it was damned good."
Marty Lyons, New York Jets Radio Lead Analyst & Former Jets defensive Lineman; Former Hofstra Football Analyst: "I remember after he had that huge game against Delaware as a senior. I remember speaking to his parents and telling them that I thought he could play at the next level. When he came in as a rookie free agent, I recall that he caught everything that was thrown his way and he quickly became a fan-favorite. After looking back at his accomplishments after 11 seasons, I truly believe he is the most beloved Jet to ever put on a uniform. He is the blue-collar hero for the people that work hard, the guy who represented all the people that were told they couldn't do something, and more importantly, he played the game the way it was meant to be played. He played hard every week, he competed hard and played to win, every single week, every single game. He'll be missed; but never forgotten."
Romeo Crennel, Cleveland Browns Head Coach, New York Jets' Assistant Coach 1997-1999: "Mr. Clutch. Small in size, big in heart, effort and toughness. If you didn't double him, he'd make the play. He took great pride in his job and the fact that he was a Jet. He was a Hofstra free agent who walked across the street and became a star."
Bill Belichick, New England Patriots Head Coach, New York Jets' Assistant Coach 1997-1999:"Just the whole background on him: not drafted, coming into the NFL as pretty much an unknown guy and really established a great role for himself as a slot/third down receiver, one of the best at it that I've coached for or against. He' was just a hard guy to cover. He really beat us down there in 2000 in the Monday night game. He's a very competitive guy. Good, smart player that I think every quarterback that has ever thrown to him, and there have been a lot of them, had a lot of confidence in him because of his ability to get open and catch the ball. Anytime you can do that on third down, anytime a receiver can become what you would call a really good third down receiver or a really good red area receiver, or a both, which Wayne would fall under that category, in the both category, you're talking about that's the tough as it gets. Until the end, he was still the guy, when was out there, he was still the guy that you have to get, even deep into his career. Part of that is him, but a big part of it is the confidence that the quarterbacks have in him and they continued to go to him even though he was doubled and he still got open. He was a real pain in the neck. He was simply a hard guy to cover."
Bruce Harper, New York Jets, 1977-1984:"I really admire Wayne and the things he was able to accomplish as a player. Quite a few times people made the comparisons between my career and his career and the fact that we both came from small schools and were told we were too small to play. What Wayne had were gifts: great hands, great anticipation and the ability to beat zones, presses and find ways to make plays. He was, and always will be, fun to root for."
Ray Lucas, New York Jets, 1997-2000, Miami Dolphins 2001-2002, Baltimore Ravens, 2003: "First and foremost, he's a Jersey guy. We had similar paths into the league. I will always be loyal to him and can't say enough good things about him. As a quarterback he was exactly what you are looking for. You'd go through all your progressions and reads and but you knew that Wayne would there and he'd do anything he could to make a play for you. In my opinion he's the best third down receiver to ever play the game. He would do anything for his quarterbacks and anything for his teammates, it didn't matter if it was going over the top of people to make plays, sliding across the field. He played the game like it was meant to be played."
Pete Kendall, Seattle Seahawks 1996-2000, Arizona Cardinals 2001-2004, New York Jets 2005- : "What always stood out to me about Wayne, as both a competitor and as a teammate of his, was his tenacity. He was a true bulldog. He would stick his nose in there and take on guys going twice his weight and fight them for every inch. He never had any back down in him. He's the kind of guy you love to have on your team each week because you knew you could depend on him."
Herman Edwards, Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach 2006-, New York Jets Head Coach 2001-2005: "Wayne Chrebet is the ultimate competitor. He played the game of football with great passion, toughness and enthusiasm. He had the unique ability to make the clutch play when the game was on the line. He epitomized the New York fans with his great work ethic and his never-quit attitude. I am honored to say that I coached Wayne Chrebet. I would also like to thank everything that Wayne has done in his professional career to represent the National Football League on and off the field as an example to all of those that follow him. I wish Wayne and his family the very best."
Chad Pennington, New York Jets, 2000- : "He's a classic. You here the personnel people talk all the time about how they are looking for the big, fast receivers. But ask any quarterback that ever played and they'll all tell you that they'd love to have played with Wayne Chrebet because he was smart, tough and would whatever it took to make a play. He understood the game so well and he understood what it took to win. He was a tireless worker and supported his teammates to the fullest degrees. I am truly blessed to have been a teammate of his and I wish him the best of luck. We will always be friends and I cherish our friendship."
Curtis Martin, New York Jets, 1998- : "He inspired me every day. I loved the way he played and how he never backed down from anything. He was an incredible teammate. He was a warrior; and I always felt you'd have to kill him to get the upper hand on him. If every player in the NFL had as much heart and desire as he had, football would be illegal."
Laveranues Coles, New York Jets, 2000-2002, 2005- : "We came from different backgrounds but the day I walked in here, he took me under his wing and taught me how to be a professional. He knew that I was playing pretty much the same spot on the field, but he pushed me everyday. He is an amazing friend and I love him like a brother."
Jonathan Vilma, New York Jets, 2004- : "I feel cheated that I only got to play two years with him. People say he was undersized, and I have heard the same thing said about me, but you can't measure heart and desire, which he is all about. I am really going to miss him. He was an unbelievable player and teammate."
Michael Strahan, New York Giants, 1993- : "Regardless of what team you are on, whether it is in college or in the NFL, everyone always roots for the underdog and that is what Wayne Chrebet always was. He always played with a chip on his shoulder and gave his best. He never had an excuse and that is why he is one of the most respected players of this era. I really consider it an honor to be one of his best friends. Honestly, he's like a brother to me."
Brooks Bollinger, New York Jets, 2003- : "He loved the game more than anyone I have ever played with or against. Passion, toughness, dedication and a guy that you loved to have in the huddle. He was amazing. Simply amazing."
Shaun Ellis, New York Jets, 2000- : "Wayne is one of the players I will tell my grandchildren about one day and how lucky I was to have met him and played alongside of him. He is a champion. I always loved it when other teams would underestimate him because he thrived on it and would hurt them. He practiced liked he played: full-tilt"
Tom Coughlin, New York Giants Head Coach, 2004-: "The thing that says it all for me is that he was a guy who was told he was too small and too slow and he played 11 years in this league, and he didn't just play. He made the key catches when his team needed them. He was extremely reliable, and he was their go-to guy. I remember that in our game in 1996 we had a very difficult time stopping him."
Wayne Chrebet's Milestone Receptions: Timeline Catch No. QB, Yards, Date, Opponent
1 Boomer Esiason, 27 yards, Sept. 3, 1995, at Miami
100 Frank Reich, 11 yards, Oct. 13, 1996, at Jacksonville
200 Neil O'Donnell, 30 yards, Nov. 30, 1997, at Buffalo
300 Ray Lucas, 18 yards, Nov. 21, 1999, vs. Buffalo
400 Vinny Testaverde, 20 yards, Dec. 24, 2000, at Baltimore
439 Vinny Testaverde, 21 yards, vs. Cincinnati, Dec. 16, 2001, vs. Cincinnati (passed Wesley Walker and Mickey Shuler)
500 Chad Pennington, 22 yards, Dec. 15, 2002, at Chicago (Champaign, Ill.)
518 Vinny Testaverde, 1 yard, Sept. 14, 2003, vs. Miami (passed Al Toon)
580 Brooks Bollinger, Nov. 6, 2005, vs. San Diego (final catch)