Honorable Mention: The Jets have had some measure of success at the wide receiver position in the team’s history. George Sauer was a 4-time AFL All-Star. Al Toon and Wesley Walker were both named to the All-Pro Team, and were inducted into the Jets Ring of Honor in 2011 and 2012 respectively. But their rises to stardom didn’t quite match the story of the first player on the list…
The Number Ten New York Jet of All-Time:
Before there was Victor Cruz, New York City was privileged with, as Vic Carucci called him, "the definitive undrafted success story": Wayne Chrebet – a 5’10" white Wide Receiver from Hofstra University.
Not known as a speed guy or an outstanding leaper, Chrebet became a reliable possession receiver who averaged 56 receptions, over 700 yards and 4 TDs per year from 1995 to 2004. He retired in 2005 with the 2nd highest number of receptions for the Jets, the 5th highest number of yards from scrimmage for the Jets, and had the 3rd highest number of catches among any undrafted wide receiver in NFL history.
Despite putting up monster numbers in college, Chrebet was ignored by every single team in the 1995 draft. A tryout with the Canadian Football League ended after one day. In 1995, Rich Kotite (in all of his infinite wisdom) allowed Chrebet into training camp as the 11th out of 11 wide receiver on the roster. He fought his way onto the roster and put up 150 catches in his first two seasons – more than any other wide receiver in NFL history. Let that sink in for a while – "Wayne Chrebet was a great NFL player under Rich Kotite."
His best season came in 1998 when he put up 75 receptions for a career high 1083 yards and 8 TDs, helping the Jets to a 12-4 regular season record and the AFC Championship. While Chrebet never made it All-Pro, Pro Bowl or even a Super Bowl, but he showed tremendous leadership as a consistent receiver who could keep the chains moving and eventually became the Jets team captain.
To this day, Chrebet is still respected by some of the most outspoken Jets-haters in New York for his underdog status and refusal to be provoked by anyone who doubted him – especially Keyshawn Johnson. Since his retirement in 2005, his jersey #80 has not been reissued to any other Jets receiver.
Chrebet may lack the accolades of most players at his position, but hard work and success against long odds earns him a spot as the Number Ten New York Jet of All-Time.
Next: 5 Jets that played in Superbowl III made the ranking. The 1st one to make this countdown comes in at Number Nine…