I think this decision was kind of made for me. When I finally came out of the last concussion, saw my wife smiling, I realized she knew something I didn't. She wouldn't have to endure the injuries, being nervous for me any more. I just kind of had to accept it. I don't know if I'll ever truly accept it.
You know, I loved making my family, friends, and fans, cheer and get them on their feet. When I realized that I was putting them through tough times, I couldn't be selfish any more. I realize I had to make that decision and agree to retire.
Rich Kotite is definitely one of the main people that gave me my chance in this league. He saw something in me that a lot of people might not have. I'm truly thankful to him because this journey might never have been started if he wasn't the coach in '95. I had a coach that wanted me to succeed and gave me a chance.
My parents gave me three years, a three-year deal. If I couldn't make a team in three years, I had to start supporting myself. I was fearful. But, you know, I was in a situation where we lost a lot of receivers. I was comfortable being on this campus.
Just the way I grew up, the way I was brought up, I just never wanted to take a backseat to anybody. When I got here, I decided from day one that I wasn't going to fail. I carried that motto my whole career.
I made myself believe that there's things I could do and maybe I couldn't. Part of that made me the player I was. Part of that sadly ended my career for the way I played.
Every day I wake up, look forward to working out, getting back on the field. I have to remind myself it's just not going to happen. I've thought about this day for the last couple of years when it looked like I might have to retire. I didn't want to believe it. Hopefully, you know, I can find something else that I can put the passion I put into football, into that.
Football will always be a part of my life. I'm a New York Jet forever. That's how I wanted it to be, I told them going into my last contract talks. I told them, I do not want to play for another team. I don't care what comes up, what situations, what money, I want to be a New York Jet for life.
It's just so surreal. You know, 11 years ago when I started, I put my nose to the ground, and I don't know if I ever came up for air. The last two years, when I got a chance to come back, I appreciated everything that much more, the fans, running out the tunnel, just the smell of the grass.
I still remember the first time I saw someone wearing my jersey. I was up here Harlem. I was going to do a radio spot. I saw a young black kid bending over, tying his shoes. I said, man, that really looks like an 80. Oh, it' must be Johnny "Lam" Jones or something. The kid stands up, I see Chrebet. I was so thrown back by it.
One of my favorite moments that I'm going to miss the most is the drive into the stadium, to see the families and the fans throwing the ball around, wearing the 80 jersey, wearing the 10, the 28.
I know what it means to pick out a certain jersey to wear. I've never gotten over the fact of the response I've gotten from the fans, how they treated me, took me in, and to this day how I still see No. 80s wherever I go.
I dedicate my whole career to everybody who believed in me, whether it was my family, my friends, people I've never met before.