WR Wayne Chrebet has owned this number from 1995-2005. Little Wayne (not to be confused with this guy) wore #3 in college (Hofstra), where that number has been retired for him. He wore #3 with the Jets in 1995 during the pre-season, when the NFL relaxes the numbering rules because teams have bigger rosters before final cuts.
As a rookie, players and coaches simply referred to him as "that kid", but he would later become "Mr. Third Down" in New York. Opposing teams knew the ball would be coming to him in that situation, but they still couldn't stop it. Wayne made his living by taking the big hit in the middle and holding on to the ball. It was exactly in this situation in which he made his last catch in the NFL in November 2005, sustaining a concussion which would force him to retire.
Also known as "The Green Lantern", Wayne served as an inspiration to many who were fans of Gang Green, and to some who weren't. He grew up close to the stadium in Garfield, New Jersey and attended Hofstra University in Long Island. I can never truly hate former HC Rich Kotite because he allowed players to walk into the Jets training camp and try out. One of those was Wayne, who started at the very bottom of the depth chart. Security stopped him at the gate on his first day, dubious that he actually made the squad.
More on #80 past and present after the jump.
Here is a video profile on Chrebet from 1997:
Wayne never made it to any Pro Bowls, but he was always dependable, sacrificing his health for the team. He has worn the number #80 for 11 years, the most of any Jets player. The second-longest period somebody held this same number was 7 years. The team hasn't issued the number since Wayne stopped playing. The Jets have given the fans "Wayne Chrebet Day" but never did retire the jersey officially.
Here is where Wayne stands with the team and in the NFL. Unfortunately, I couldn't find stats focusing on third downs only, so if anyone has them, I would really appreciate it.
CAREER RECEPTIONS - 580. WR Jerry Rice has the most in the NFL (1,549), WR Keyshawn Johnson has the most for a former Jet (814), WR Don Maynard has the most in a Jets uniform (627). Wayne is 2nd in the team and 66th in the NFL.
CAREER RECEIVING YARDS - 7365. Rice again has the most in the NFL (22,895), Maynard has the most for a former Jet (11,834) and in a Jet uniform (11,732). Wayne is 3rd in the team and 97th in the NFL. WR Wesley Walker is 2nd in the team with 8,306.
CAREER RECEIVING TDs - 41. Rice has the most in the NFL (197), Maynard's 88 is is the most for a former Jet and in a Jet uniform. Wayne is 3rd in the team and tied for 158th in the NFL. Walker is 2nd in the team with 71.
In 2002, Wayne had 9 touchdown catches, tied for 5th in the league for that year.
CAREER YARDS FROM SCRIMMAGE - 7,363. Rice has the most (23,540). At 7th and with the most for a former Jet is RB Curtis Martin (17,430), who also has the most in a Jet uniform (12,741). Wayne is 200th in the NFL.
CAREER YARDS PER TOUCH - 12.2. Former Jets RB Michael Bates has the most at 23.0. Walker has the most in a Jet uniform at 18.8, tied for 6th in the NFL. Wayne is 198th in the league.
GAMES PLAYED WITH A RECEPTION - 152. Wayne is 5th in the team, behind Maynard (172), WR Jerome Barkum (158), TE(154) and Walker (154).
Here are the players who have previously worn the number #80 for the Jets:
1993-94 TE James Thornton
1990-92 TE Mark Boyer
1989 TE Greg Werner
1988 TE K.D. Dunn
1980-85 WR Lam Jones
1979 WR Roger Farmer
1978 WR Kevin Bell
1976 WR Howard Satterwhite
1967-73 DT John Eliott (not to be confused with this guy)
1966 DE Bob Werl
1964 WR Jim Evans
1962 WR Perry Richards (New York Titans)
1960-61 E Dave Ross (New York Titans)
So, what do you say, Gang Green Nation, is "Wayne Chrebet Day" and the non-issue of his jersey number enough for you? Or do you think the New York Jets should officially retire #80? Does he need to have the best numbers, or does his long tenure, courage, resilience and inspiring story earn him a permanent place in team history?