|Jets' Chrebet still has problems from concussions, but no regrets|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 20 September 2007 11:00|
He still has problems as a result of the series of concussions that ended his career with the New York Jets two years ago, but the former wide receiver has no regrets.
``Even if I had the chance to play again, I wouldn't change the way that I played on the field,'' Chrebet said during a conference call Thursday. ``Maybe I learned a little bit about going out of bounds instead of taking the hit on the sidelines, but I couldn't change that. I think that is what endeared me to the fans so much.''
That tough, no-fear approach certainly made him a favorite of fans, who'll get a chance to honor him Sunday at halftime of the Jets' game against the Miami Dolphins.
``It will definitely be a special day for me and my family,'' Chrebet said. ``I'm a little nervous about it, the magnitude of it, but I'm certainly looking forward to it.''
Chrebet's No. 80 jersey is still among the most popular at home games, and he's talked about by fans with the type of reverence usually reserved for Hall of Famers. He became a fan favorite during his first training camp in 1995, when he worked his way from being an undersized - 5-foot-10, 188 pounds - and undrafted free agent from Hofstra to making the Jets' starting lineup. He finished his career with 580 receptions, the second most in team history, for 7,365 yards and 41 touchdowns from 1995-2005.
``I thought he was extremely tough,'' said Jets coach Eric Mangini, who gameplanned against Chrebet many times as an opposing defensive assistant. ``I know he was a problem to deal with every year defensively. You just love those guys that come in and say, 'I'm not leaving. I'm going to make my mark on this game and this team.' Wayne was one of those guys.''
Chrebet was one of the most sure-handed players in the game, no matter how hard he was hit, and incredibly reliable on third-down plays. In fact, it was only fitting that his last play in the NFL came on a third-down catch.
On Nov. 6, 2005, Chrebet caught a pass that got the Jets a first down against the San Diego Chargers. He stayed down on the field for several minutes after the hit, with a glazed look in his eyes. He was helped off the field and suffered for weeks from headaches and sensitivity to light and noise.
That was at least the sixth concussion of his career and he still has problems from them, including severe motion sickness.
``Sometimes it's tough to do something with the kids and spin them around,'' he said. ``I can't take them on roller coasters, fishing and stuff that I used to be able to do. There are a million other things that I can do, so I'm not concerned about it.''
Chrebet spends a lot of his time with his wife, Amy, and their two children, Luke and Cade, at their home in Colts Neck, N.J. He also stops into Chrebet's, his restaurant located across the street from the Jets' practice field, a few times a week. Chrebet has also gotten into horse racing and was in Ohio this week to see one of his horses compete.
``How can I complain?'' he said. ``I have a great life.''
That's why Chrebet is so hesitant to talk about his concussions and the health issues that accompany them.
``I don't want to be a sob story,'' he said.
Chrebet had a scary flashback this weekend when he watched highlights of Detroit's Jon Kitna return from a concussion to help the Lions beat Minnesota. Kitna said ``it was a miracle'' that he was able to come back so quickly; Chrebet said it was just plain silly.
``He has a tremendous heart to go out there and lead the team again, but I saw his eyes on the sideline and I know that look because I have seen it on my eyes and on other players,'' he said. ``I disagree with what they did. ... I don't think it was fair to him because he really could have gotten hurt out there.''
Chrebet certainly speaks from experience, and thinks more can be done to prevent the rampant number of concussions occurring in the NFL.
``They made new guidelines with it being the doctor's decision and amount of time away from the game,'' he said. ``The truth is that we are going to lie. I lied about it. Everybody has lied about it, whether it's your head, knee or any kind of injury. You have to take it out of the players' hands.''
Chrebet suggested the league look into making players sit a certain amount of time if they have a concussion.
``I guess it depends on the severity of the concussion, but in my mind, a concussion is a concussion,'' he said. ``I don't care if it's mild or severe, I think the player should spend some time away from the game.''
For all the times he was helped off the field, including on the last play of his career, Chrebet thinks Sunday's ceremony will be the perfect send-off.
``It's a second chance to do it the way that I wanted to,'' Chrebet said. ``A chance to walk off the field, soak it all in, wave goodbye and end that chapter of my life.''