Possibly the most favorite and popular Jet not named Joe Namath is Wayne Chrebet. He wasn’t the fastest receiver, he wasn’t the most athletic, but he played with heart something that Jet fans came to appreciate during his 11 year career with the Jets.
Chrebet’s big break came when he was granted a walk-on opportunity with the NFL’s New York Jets, who at the time trained at Hofstra’s campus. His chances of remaining on the team for long were nothing short of astronomical: he entered training camp 11th of 11 on the Jets’ wide receiver depth chart; NFL teams rarely carry more than five receivers into the season. In an incident that would later become iconic, Chrebet was stopped and detained at the front gate on his first day of training camp by a security guard, who thought Chrebet was too small to be a real player. A Jets team official was summoned to verify he was an authorized walk-on and could enter the training complex. With a stellar performance in training camp and the preseason, Chrebet managed to make the team’s final 53-man roster, the first Hofstra alumnus to make an NFL team in three decades.
During his career, he caught passes from 13 different players, played for several different head coaches, and worked for two different owners.Chrebet was formally honored by the New York Jets on “Wayne Chrebet Day” during halftime of the September 23rd, 2007 game against the Miami Dolphins.
Chrebet wore #80 jersey for his entire 11-season career as a Jet.Although it has not been formally retired, the Jets have not reissued it since he retired, and it is generally understood that no Jet will wear that number again in the foreseeable future. He was, however, formally inducted into the New York Jets Ring of Honor during halftime of the Monday December 1, 2014 game against the Miami Dolphins.
Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday spotlights…Wayne Chrebet.