In the final night before the AFC Divisional game against the Patriots, Rex Ryan brought in former Jets defensive lineman Dennis Byrd to speak to the team.
Byrd played for the Jets from 1989 to 1992. He put together a 13 sack campaign in 1990. His career, however, came to an abrupt end in a game against the Chiefs in 1992. While attempting to sack quarterback Dave Kreig, Dennis collided head first with teammate Scott Mersereau. It broke his C-5 vertebra and left him paralyzed.
After a long surgery and recovery, Byrd regained the ability to walk. His story is one of the most inspirational and uplifting you will ever hear. It seems to have touched Braylon Edwards deeply if Braylon's Twitter page is any indication.
I just heard the most inspirational message of my life from former jet Dennis Byrd, who suffered a career ending neck injury.
As God is my witness I have never been more ready to perform in my life. Dennis Byrd I respect, salute, and honor you
One can only imagine it had a similar uplifting effect on other players.
Part of the reason I like Rex Ryan is that he is an excellent football coach. I also really like the appreciation he has for team history. I guess since his father was an assistant coach for the Jets when he was growing up, he has a natural understanding of how significant it is. Dennis Byrd's injury was my first memory of football growing up. I didn't even know what a first down was. I just remember how upset my father was. It's great to see that the team can still has a place for him and is finding ways for him to contribute.
ENJOY WITH ABSOLUT RESPONSIBILITY®