Re: Jets/Patriots Game Thread
posted at 1/16/2011 12:21 PM EST
In Response to Re: Jets/Patriots Game Thread
[QUOTE]Just heard on NFL network that Ryan brought it an ex-Jets player who was paralyzed and he supposably really lit a fire under the guys. Feel bad what happened to this guy but all the different emotions running through that locker room will be their downfall, plus the Jets just aren't that good.
Posted by freediro[/QUOTE]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Byrd
Dennis Byrd gives motivational speech
By Rich Cimini
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- On the eve of their biggest game since Super Bowl III -- or so Rex Ryan called it -- the New York Jets received a motivational speech from one of the most beloved and tragic figures in franchise history.
Former defensive lineman Dennis Byrd, whose promising career came to a nightmarish end in 1992 when he suffered a broken neck in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs, delivered a moving address to the Jets Saturday night at their team hotel.
"I just heard the most inspirational message of my life from former Jet Dennis Byrd," wide receiver Braylon Edwards tweeted.
In a follow-up tweet, Edwards added, "As God is my witness, I have never been more ready to perform in my life. Dennis Byrd, I respect, salute and honor you."
Byrd, reached Sunday morning by ESPNNewYork.com, said he didn't want to detract attention from the team by talking about himself or his speech. But Byrd wanted this out about his respect for Rex Ryan, a fellow native Oklahoman: "When I first saw the Jets had hired Rex Ryan ... I didn't know how many games the Jets would win, but I knew they weren't going to lose any fights."
Byrd, 44, who lives with his family in Owasso, Okla., will attend Sunday's AFC divisional playoff game, a team spokesman said.
The Jets meet the New England Patriots in a grudge match that will be rife with emotion. The Jets were embarrassed last month by the Patriots, 45-3, fueling a war of words in recent days that started with Ryan and escalated when cornerback Antonio Cromartie made profane comments about quarterback Tom Brady.
Ordinarily, Ryan delivers the Saturday-night speech to the team, and they're usually quite memorable. This time, the outspoken ceded his podium to Byrd, who spoke eloquently of how his career was cut short and how he always dreamed of playing in a game of this magnitude, according to people in the room.
It was an emotional week for the Jets, but it hit a fever pitch with the arrival of Byrd, who has been living a quiet life in his native Oklahoma. It's believed this was his first team function in more than 15 years. In the years following his injury, which left him temporarily paralyzed, Byrd drifted away from the spotlight, cutting off ties with former teammates and team officials.
Byrd's injury gripped New York for several weeks late in the 1992 season, when he was front-page news. Three months after the injury, which occurred when he collided with teammate Scott Mersereau, Byrd walked on crutches into an emotional news conference at his Manhattan hospital.
The following season, the Jets honored Byrd on opening day, when he walked on his own to midfield for the coin toss. He was presented with the Most Inspiration Player Award, which was immediately renamed the Dennis Byrd Award. It's presented annually to a player on the team, as voted by the players.
Running back LaDainian Tomlinson was this season's recipient.
No Jets player has worn No. 90 since Byrd, although it hasn't been formally retired.
Byrd worked one season as a CBS analyst, and later as an assistant high school coach, before leaving the game. He wrote a book, which led to a TV movie about his life. In recent years, he has traveled the country as a motivational speaker.
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.
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