I’m filled with them tonight. I just spent 11 days at the N.Y. Jets Training camp in Cortland New York. My life with the Jets began in 1962 (they were still the Titans) with my dad as Team Doctor, through 7 years of working for them, to returning every summer and still being a part of the “Jet Family”. This year when I got the roster, so many familiar numbers were filled with new names, 81 was not Keller but Winslow, 91 Was not Pouha but Richardson etc. and just so many new names and numbers. Also a few new coaches and most of all a new GM, John Idzik.
Back in the late 1970’s, John’s dad, also John Idzik, was offensive coordinator and Quarterback coach when I was working there. Young John was a ball-boy and I was amazed he remembered me and when he greeted me after practice made me feel so welcome. He just put me so at ease and that set the tone for the entire visit.
Everyday I was on the sidelines with the media, evaluating the competition at each position, enjoying talking with reporters and Jet officials, and having a chance to talk to talk to players as time went on. Cortland is a small college town and everyone frequents the same few favorite restaurants, so it’s easy to see how players really get to know one another and it’s such a uniting feeling. My Hotel, Country Inn and Suites, across the street from the campus where the Jets practice has a great front porch with rocking chairs. Every day Jet fans, Refs that Jets hire, visiting media and former players sit and talk football all afternoon since there’s only one practice a day now. But what fantastic conversations about the greatest sport!
I’ll be writing a lot of thank you notes but tonight my heart is so full that I needed to write my feelings down now. I care and love this team, win or lose, of course I sure prefer to win. I’ve been through a one win season and a Super Bowl season, but my loyalty will never waver. Every year I look forward to my visit to Jet camp and every year I leave knowing my dad (and mom with him) gave me 50 years of a most unique and blessed life with the New York Jets.