The dominant Al Toon and inspiring Wayne Chrebet contrast in many ways, but which wideout had the better New York Jets career?
One man entered the league as a top-10 pick. The other entered while scratching and clawing his way against terrible odds. One man stood 6-foot-4 while the other was granted a 5-foot-10 status (if the program director was feeling generous). One man had the ability to attack the ball at its high point while the other made a living in the slot and in the soft spots on third down.
For instance, Toon was never a straight-line burner. His 4.65 forty-yard-dash speed would absolutely compare better with Chrebet’s unknown mark than a Calvin Johnson. There’s each player’s ranking in New York Jets history. One wideout sits third all-time in yards and touchdowns while the other is right behind him in the four-spot (yards). And, of course, there’s the way both players exited the stadium the final time.
On Nov. 27, 1992, Toon opted to retire in-season in the wake of what he initially thought was his fifth concussion. (It was later revealed he had suffered nine.) He later revealed how easy a decision it turned out to be.
“The decision wasn’t difficult when I had all the information,” Toon told FOX Sports in a recent interview. “I just felt blessed to have the opportunity to play the game for as long as I did.”
During the Summer of 2006, No. 80 retired for the same reason. A 3rd-down catch against the San Diego Chargers on Nov. 6, 2005, proved to be Chrebet’s last play as a Jet and his last concussion. The Garfield, NJ native suffered at least six concussions throughout his 11-year career.
“When you play football,” he adds, “you know what you are doing. It’s a violent game. It’s controlled violence. If you don’t want to get hit, don’t play football. There’s a chance you are going to get hurt. It’s just how it is. I love everything about the physicality of the sport. I liked to hit people. I liked to be hit. Football is always going to be the best sport there is.”
Which man enjoyed the better Jets career?