Chrebet, Wayne

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Number 80
One of the most popular players ever for the New York Jets, Wayne Chrebet played 11 seasons, as a wide receiver, from 1995 to 2005.

Contents

Background and college

Born August 14, 1973, in Garfield, New Jersey, Chrebet played for Hofstra University, which also is the site of the Jets’ year-round training facility. At Hofstra, Chrebet was a four-year letterwinner who twice led the Flying Dutchmen (now known as The Pride), in receiving. In addition he set the single season and career touchdown marks with 16 (1994), and 31, respectively. Also in 1994, Chrebet became Hofstra's first 1,000-yard receiver. Along the way he set a Hofstra school record with 245 receiving yards in a game against Delaware, and tying Jerry Rice for the NCAA I-AA mark with five touchdowns.

NFL Career

As a Jet

Although he was not drafted by any team at the 1995 NFL Draft, Chrebet eventually earned a long shot walk-on opportunity with the New York Jets where he was 11th of 11 on the depth chart. Chrebet was stopped and detained at the front gate on his first day of training camp by the senior New York Jets security guard who did not believe Chrebet could actually be a football player due to his relatively small size. A New York Jets team official was summoned to verify he was an authorized walk-on and could enter the training complex. Wayne Chrebet worked his way up the depth chart from 11th to make the team and was the first Hofstra football player to make an NFL roster since John Schmitt in 1964.


Chrebet
In 1998, he teamed with Keyshawn Johnson to lead the league in receptions as the tandem finished with 158 receptions, 2,214 receiving yards, 14.0 yards per catch and 18 touchdowns as the Jets won the AFC East with the best record in their history.

In a 1999 preseason game against Minnesota, Chrebet broke his foot, and missed a number of games. Prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2000 Keyshawn Johnson, who had been traded at the end of the 1999 season, and who had always held Chrebet in low regard, said before the game that comparing Wayne Chrebet to himself "is like comparing a flashlight to a star: flashlights only last so long, and a star is in the sky forever". In the game, Johnson was held to one catch, but Chrebet caught the winning touchdown pass from Curtis Martin in the last minute. After this, the New York media dubbed Chrebet "The Green Lantern." His primary nickname, however, was "Mr. Third Down" because 379 of his 580 career receptions were first down conversions.

Concussions and the end

He played with the reckless abandon expected of a 5-foot-10 undrafted free agent. He missed at least six games after shots to the head and says the concussions “piled up,’’ but won’t guess how many. On Nov. 2, 2003 against the Giants, a knee to the back of the head knocked him cold, but a quarter later team Dr. Elliott Pellman - also chair of the NFL’s mild traumatic brain injury committee - put him back in. Ten days later, sluggish and tired, he went on injured reserve list. Another concussion aganst the St Louis Rams put Chrebet out of the 2004 Playoffs. In a November 6, 2005 game against the San Diego Chargers, Wayne Chrebet's career ended prematurely when he sustained a serious concussion on a clean play. Despite being knocked unconscious for several minutes, Chrebet still made that third-down catch for a first down, symbolic of the type of plays he made throughout his career. He hobbled off, and after the game a trainer had to help him take off his uniform. A day later, he was placed on injured reserve and never played again. He formally retired on June 2, 2006.

Breakfast time!
During his career he caught passes from 13 different players: 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. He is second all time in New York Jet franchise history for receptions behind Don Maynard and third overall for reveiving yards. Among all-time National Football League (NFL) players who were undrafted, he owns the third-most receptions in the history of the league, he trails only Rod Smith and Gary Clark. Chrebet also had a breakfast cereal, Chrebet Crunch, named after him.

Statistics

Regular Season Statistics

Year Rush Att Yds Avg TD Lng   Receptions Yards Avg TD Lng   Kick Returns Yards Avg TD Lng   Punt returns Yards Avg TD Lng
1995 1 1 1.0 0 1   66 726 11.0 32 4   0 0 0.0 0 0   0 0 0.0 0 0
1996 0 0 0.0 0 0   84 909 10.8 4 32   0 0 0.0 0 0   28 139 5.0 0 15
1997 0 0 0.0 0 0   58 799 13.8 3 70   1 5 5.0 0 5   0 0 0.0 0 0
1998 0 0 0.0 0 0   75 1083 14.4 8 63t   0 0 0.0 0 0   0 0 0.0 0 0
1999 0 0 0.0 0 0   48 631 13.1 3 50t   0 0 0.0 0 0   0 0 0.0 0 0
2000 3 -3 -1.0 0 8   69 937 13.6 8 50   0 0 0.0 0 0   0 0 0.0 0 0
2001 0 0 0.0 0 0   56 750 13.4 1 36   0 0 0.0 0 0   0 0 0.0 0 0
2002 0 0 0.0 0 0   51 691 13.5 9 37   0 0 0.0 0 0   0 0 0.0 0 0
2003 0 0 0.0 0 0   27 289 10.7 1 29t   0 0 0.0 0 0   0 0 0.0 0 0
2004 0 0 0.0 0 0   31 397 12.8 1 35t   0 0 0.0 0 0   0 0 0.0 0 0
2005 0 0 0.0 0 0   15 153 10.2 0 20   0 0 0.0 0 0   0 0 0.0 0 0
Total 4 -2 -0.5 0 8   580 7365 12.7 41 70   28 139 5.0 0 15   1 5 5.0 0 5

Playoff Statistics

Year Rush Att Yds Avg TD Lng   Receptions Yards Avg TD Lng   Kick Returns Yards Avg TD Lng   Punt returns Yards Avg TD Lng
1998 0 0 0.0 0 0   12 166 13.8 0 -   0 0 0.0 0 0   0 0 0.0 0 0
2001 0 0 0.0 0 0   4 52 13.0 2 -   0 0 0.0 0 0   0 0 0.0 0 0
2002 0 0 0.0 0 0   3 51 17.0 0 -   0 0 0.0 0 0   0 0 0.0 0 0
Total 0 0 0.0 0 0   19 269 14.2 2 -   0 0 0.0 0 0   0 0 0.0 0 0

After the NFL

Wayne thanks the fans
Chrebet now resides in Colts Neck, New Jersey and opened a restaurant down the street from Hofstra called Chrebet's. The opening party was held on March 9, 2007. On September 23, 2007, the Jets held a ceremony to mark Chrebet's retirement. At half time during the Jets 31-28 win over the Miami Dolphins, Chrebet walked from the tunnel to midfield, wearing an old No. 80 jersey and holding the hands of his two young sons, Lukas and Cade. "I had hoped and prayed for one more chance to walk out of the tunnel, and you guys have made it a moment I'll never forget," Chrebet told the crowd, his voice cracking. "Words could never express how I feel about you."

Chrebet was feted by owner Woody Johnson and GM Mike Tannenbaum. They presented Chrebet, with a framed jersey, two first-class plane tickets to a destination of his choice and a Rolex watch. Afterward, Chrebet said, "It was the ending to a perfect career."

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