My Guys in the Ring of Honor
Today, the New York Jets named its two newest members to the teams "Ring of Honor", Wesley Walker (1977-1989) & Mark Gastineau (1979-1988). Both of these individuals have a special place in my heart, as I was a scout during their selections (both were taken in the 2nd round). I thought it would be worth commenting on today, as this is a special day for people like me who have always believed in these incredible athletes and men.
I only own two jerseys, both of them belonging to these two Jets. #85 & #99.
Wesley Walker - WR - Cal State - 1977 - 2nd Round
The Jets haven't had someone distinctly of his calibre since he was with the team. Wesley was a 2x Pro Bowl Selection, leading the league in receptions in 1978, and catching 71 touchdowns through his brilliant career. He was a real deep threat and a game changer in every sense of the word. His inclusion into the Ring of Honor is fitting and well deserved. Wesley and I both have only one seeing eye, and while I'm impressed that I can properly drive my car, he was able to catch hundreds of passes for thousands of yards, all without depth perception. This was someone who wanted to play football and did whatever it took (like memorizing the eye chart) to achieve greatness. In addition to being an incredible football player, Wesley is also a man of honor and integrity, standing up for what he believes in (and has stood up for me countless times).
Mark Gastineau - DE - East Central Oklahoma University - 1979 - 2nd Round
For anyone that knows me, they know I am credited with having discovered Mark, having been tasked with finding a replacement for the Senior Bowl in '79. I called up scores of players, but it was only Mark that jumped out of the phone at me. His exuberance was genuine and his passion was evident. He ended up being the MVP of the Senior Bowl, and someone I suggested we select in the 1979 draft. We did, and in the 2nd round, Mark Gastineau, the passionate young man from Oklahoma was a Jet. What happened next was beyond many of our wildest expectations. Mark was a 5x Pro-Bowl selection, and led the league in sacks with a record of 22 which stood until Brett Favre took a dive to give Michael Strahan the record. There was nobody to take a dive for Mark back in the day. He fought tooth and nail for every single sack he made. Walt Michaels had wanted Mark to be a pass rushing specialist (and Walt was far ahead of his time with this, as we see today). Mark fought through some tough times, while never ceasing to be the dear friend I found in 1979. His sack dance was not a planned celebration, but rather, an explosion of excitement that just came from him and still does. These days, he does his dancing for his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I celebrate the acknowledgement of these contributions to the Jets history, and their inclusion into the prestegious Ring of Honor. It's very special for me that two of the players I was closest with, personally and professionaly, would be added on the same night. In an added honor for me, I've been asked by Mark to join him, his wife Joann, and sister Kelli on the field at halftime of the Texans Monday Night game for this once-in-a-lifetime event.
I'm grateful for what these men did for the team, I'm thankful for the teams' recognition, and blessed that I was able to contribute to their selection in my time with the team. These men are forever Jets.
-Connie Nicholas Carberg