Dennis Byrd to be Jets' honorary captain
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets carried Dennis Byrd's jersey to midfield before their playoff victory in New England.
This Sunday, Byrd will walk with the Jets players as their honorary captain for the coin toss before the AFC Championship Game against the Steelers at Heinz Field.
"It's just fitting for him to be our captain," quarterback Mark Sanchez said Wednesday. "I'm proud that he is. I wouldn't want it any other way."
The former Jets defensive end's career ended in 1992, when he collided with teammate Scott Mersereau in a game against Kansas City, leaving him temporarily paralyzed. Three months after breaking the critical C5 vertebra in his neck, he walked on crutches to a news conference at his hospital in Manhattan.
Before the home opener the following season, he walked out to midfield on his own for the coin toss, as the crowd at the Meadowlands gave him a standing ovation.
Byrd recently sent coach Rex Ryan the No. 90 jersey that was torn from his torso more than 18 years ago as an inspirational gift, and it hung in the Jets' locker room during their 28-21 victory over the Patriots last Sunday.
Byrd gave a moving speech the night before the game at the team hotel, something running back LaDainian Tomlinson called the most emotional he has ever heard.
Tomlinson and safety James Ihedigbo carried out a green and white No. 90 jersey to midfield for the coin toss.
"Hearing about his story for the first time really makes you understand how fortunate we are and how fragile your career is," Sanchez said. "These moments you have on the plane, hanging around in the locker room, having fun with guys, going to eat, playing on the field, it's pretty special. It can end at any moment. That was just a good reminder for us of how fortunate we are."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers offensive linemen looking to build on strong 2013 finish
- Inside the ropes: Shazier shows off speed
- GM Colbert expects Roethlisberger to end career with Steelers
- Steelers linebacker Spence confident he can avoid injury setbacks
- Steelers hoping that youth movement breathes life into team
- Steelers notebook: Team hasn’t called on Keisel, Harrison yet