Jets to retire Dennis Byrd’s jersey Sunday

AP

The Jets are going to retire Dennis Byrd’s No. 90 jersey at halftime of tomorrow’s game against the Dolphins, and he may have a few words for them today.

Byrd told Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com he was going to spend some time with the team as they finish their preparations for Miami.

Byrd, whose promising career was cut short by a neck injury that initially left him paralyzed, also delivered an emotional message to the Jets two years ago before a playoff win over New England.

“The thing I remember is how proud he was to be a Jet,” guard Brandon Moore said. “He still felt like a Jet. Rex uses that term, bleeding green. You felt a connection to the past, which is something you don’t feel a lot in the NFL. People leave and move on and guys that were there, there’s no connection between past and present. It was good. It felt college-like in a sense.”

Byrd told the players prior to that playoff game he’d give anything for a chance to play one more snap, after his career ended after four seasons.

“The message was, ‘Leave it on the field. You never know when it’s going to be your last snap, so play as if every single one is,'” tight end Dustin Keller said. “It was huge. We played our butts off that day. It meant a lot to us. Sometimes people take things for granted as far as their career. We have to realize opportunities can be lost.”

The halftime ceremony tomorrow will also reunite Byrd with the man who collided with him that day, former Jets lineman Scott Mersereau.

Cimini also wrote a touching story earlier this week about Mersereau’s own injury riddled career, and the pain it left him in. It’s well worth a read, if only to realize how inspirational Byrd was to his former teammate as he struggled through a similar spinal fusion surgery, and how the memories of that day created a bond between them that miles and time couldn’t diminish.

10 responses to “Jets to retire Dennis Byrd’s jersey Sunday

  1. Nice.

    Obviously this isn’t about his on field accomplishments of an injury shortened careers.

    But it is an appropriate reminder of of respect and honor for ALL players (even those unfortunate enough to play for the Jets) that they ALL put their lives on the line every time they take the field.

  2. The thing I remember is how proud he was to be a Jet…. why?

    This team has the worst winning % in the AFC East. Fewest SB trips, Division Championships, playoff victories, etc. Even Buffalo has a better franchise winning %.

  3. sorry phonymcringring, but this is not the first time Dennis has been honored by the JETS. And I’m sure it won’t be the last! Dennis, I’ll be on the field with you on Sunday. You’ve made great strides and show people to never give up. Keep up the good work!!!

    Don’t understand why Jet haters have to hate everything the team does, Just shows how simple minded some people are

  4. Kinda ironic that a man whos career was ended by an injury is going to be giving a pep talk to a team who has been advocating “hot sauce” and “head hunting” to “legally” injure opposing players….

  5. Congratulations to all the morons who signed in with idiotic comments. I was in the stadium when Byrd got hurt, never seen 80,000 people so quiet. In the days that followed, based on the Dr’s reports you knew he’d never walk again. Opening day the following season the man walks out under his own power, truly inspirational, not a dry eye in the house, one of the best stories you’ll ever see. And naturally we have all of the a-hole Jets haters making d-bag statements about something that goes beyond what team you follow. Class acts one and all, hope it makes you feel better about your team.

  6. This was a nice article about a courageous player who was injured on the field and this post shocking to no one is filled with vitriol and nastiness from pinheads who can’t get over their Jets obsession. Its sad and pathetic.

    Hey Hehateme2 let me clue you in since you obviously like to make stuff up. Since 1997 the Jets have had 2 losing season and have made the playoffs 7 times winning 7 games, 5 of which are on the road. Is the same period the Dolphins have 3 playoff wins and Bills ZERO with no appearances in the playoffs. In fact the Dolphins haven’t won a playoff game in 12 years while the Jets have 6 wins in the same span. So you want to spout off about worst % and want to include records from the 60’s or 70’s? What were the pats before the late 90’s? They were the worst in the league. So use recent history and then spout off some stats, you clown. I swear there should be an IQ test for posting on this site, but of course if that was the case Mike Florio wouldn’t get to post anything.

  7. Couldn’t of said it better cousin. Its getting so old seeing Jets haters say the same corny comments over and over again and think they’re funny or clever. I also see a lot of people repeating exactly what some talking head on espn or nfl net. says and sometimes even word for word. If all you haters want less Jets stories than stop clicking and commenting on the damn link, but you can’t cuz your obsessed….. Now Congrats #90 on being a Jet for life. You are a true inspiration to us all that goes way beyond the football field. Eric LeGrand will follow in your footsteps literally soon.

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