|Date of birth:August 14, 1973|
|Place of birth: Garfield, New Jersey|
|Undrafted in 1995|
|Debuted in 1995|
|Last played in 2005|
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
High school and college career
Chrebet played for Hofstra University, the site of what used to be the Jets’ year-round training facility. At Hofstra, Chrebet was a four-year letter-winner who twice led the Flying Dutchmen (now known as The Pride), in receiving. In addition he set the single season and career touchdown marks with 16 (1994), and 31, respectively. Also in 1994, Chrebet became Hofstra's first 1,000-yard receiver. Along the way he set a Hofstra school record with 245 receiving yards in a game against Delaware, and tying Jerry Rice for the NCAA I-AA mark with five touchdowns.
For his accomplishments at Hofstra University, Wayne Chrebet was part of the inaugural class to be inducted into the Hofstra University Athletic Hall of Fame and his jersey was retired.
Chrebet was not drafted by any team at the National Football League Draft in 1995. He would have a walk on try out with the Canadian Football League's Baltimore Stallions, but was cut after one day. Chrebet eventually earned a walk-on opportunity with the New York Jets where he was 11th of 11 on the depth chart. Chrebet was stopped and detained at the front gate on his first day of training camp by the senior New York Jets security guard who did not believe Chrebet could actually be a football player due to his relatively small size. A New York Jets team official was summoned to verify he was an authorized walk-on and could enter the training complex. Chrebet worked his way up the depth chart from 11th to make the team and was the first Hofstra football player to make an NFL roster since John Schmitt in 1964.
In a December 3, 1995 game versus the St. Louis Rams, Chrebet pulled in 8 receptions and broke several tackles on a scramble toward the goal line. On October 19, 1996 at Jacksonville, Chrebet hauled in 12 receptions for 162 yards with five third-down conversions. On September 24, 2000, after former Jets teammate Keyshawn Johnson claimed that comparing Chrebet to him was like "comparing a flashlight to a star," Chrebet caught an 18-yard TD pass from Curtis Martin with 52 seconds left to give the Jets a 21-17 victory against Johnson's team at the time (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers). After this, the New York media dubbed Chrebet "The Green Lantern." His primary nickname, however, was "Mr. Third Down" because 379 of his 580 career receptions were third to first down conversions. Wayne Chrebet become a sensation secondary to his achievement and was featured on cereal boxes in addition to having his #80 jersey worn by the lead character Michael in the 2003 Will Ferrell motion picture Elf.
Some consider Chrebet's best overall game as the October 10th, 2004 contest with the Buffalo Bills in which Chrebet enjoyed a perfect game, catching all 8 passes sent his way from quarterback Chad Pennington in a 16-14 victory. Chrebet's career history was named one of the greatest rags-to-riches stories in the history of professional sports by Sports Illustrated later that year.
In a November 6, 2005 game against the San Diego Chargers, Chrebet's career ended prematurely when he sustained a serious concussion on a clean play. Despite being knocked unconscious for several minutes, Chrebet still made that third-down catch for a first down, symbolic of the type of plays he made throughout his career. Chrebet's 580 receptions ranks him 2nd and his 7,365 yards from scrimmage place him 5th all-time in the New York Jets record books.
Chrebet wore the New York Jet number 80 jersey for 11 straight seasons. During his career, he caught passes from 13 different players, played for several different head coaches, and worked for two different owners. Chrebet was formally honored by the New York Jets on "Wayne Chrebet Day" during halftime of the September 23rd, 2007 game against the Miami Dolphins. Chrebet's number 80 has not been issued by the team since he retired, and it is generally understood that no Jet will wear that number in the foreseeable future.
- 1995: New York Newsday's "Jet of the Year," as voted on by the paper's readers.
- 1996: Awarded the Dennis Byrd Award for Most Inspirational Player as voted by his New York Jet teammates.
- 1996: Hofstra University Young Alumni Award in 1996. The award was bestowed to alumni who, within 10 years of graduation, achieved significant accomplishments in professional life.
- 1997: New York Jets "Unsung Hero Award"
- 2000: DIRECTV "NFL Play of the Week" (Week 2 vs. New England for a game winning TD catch in the fourth quarter)
- 2000: DIRECTV "NFL Play of the Week" (Week 4 vs. Tampa Bay for an 18-yard TD catch with :51 seconds left in the game on an HB option from RB Curtis Martin
- 2000: Thurman Munson Award for his outstanding efforts on an off the field and in serving in the community
- 2001: New York Jets Alumni Association's "Jets Player of the Year"
- 2002: Chrebet's college jersey was retired in a ceremony at Hofstra University, New York.
- 2005: Awarded the Ed Block Courage Award.
- 2010: NFL Top 10: Undrafted Players #10.
After the NFL
Chrebet now resides in Colts Neck Township, New Jersey. Chrebet has operated two restaurants on Long Island near his alma mater, Hofstra University. Initially a steakhouse called Chrebet's, it was later closed and reopened as a sports-themed bar/restaurant called "Social Sports Lounge and Kitchen"
In a 2007 interview with the Bergen Record, Chrebet stated he still feels post-concussion symptoms as a result of the multiple concussions he suffered while playing in the NFL, including headaches, lethargy, and sensitivity to light and noise.
The NFL Network recognized Wayne Chrebet's career in 2009 by including Chrebet in their Top 10 episode "Best Undrafted Players" at the number ten position.
Chrebet served as the "FCS Championship Game Ambassador" for the 2009 FCS Championship Game between Villanova and Montana.
On May 28, 2009 Chrebet joined Morgan Stanley as a financial advisor working out of the Red Bank, New Jersey office. In Fall 2012, Chrebet joined Barclays Capital as a financial advisor and Assistant Vice President working out of the Park Ave, New York City office.
On April 26, 2013 Chrebet was at Radio City Music Hall and formally announced the New York Jets 2nd round draft selection of quarterback Geno Smith during the 2013 NFL Draft.
Chrebet is routinely invited to attend Jets games as a guest of honor by owner Woody Johnson and also routinely serves as an ambassador on behalf of the New York Jets and National Football League via community service and public relations events. Chrebet is represented by Ryan Totka of Athlete Promotions.
- Hermoso, Rafael. "GARFIELD'S CHREBET HOPES TO IMPRESS JETS", The Record (Bergen County), May 4, 1995. Accessed December 5, 2007. "Wayne Chrebet wasn't exactly overconfident when he began his football career as a sophomore at Garfield High School."
- "HOFSTRA TO INDUCT 17 INTO INAUGURAL ATHLETICS HALL OF FAME CLASS THIS SATURDAY", Hofstra University. Accessed December 5, 2007 this is so cool.
- "Every Down, Every Distance". New York: Doubleday, 1999.
- Pro-Football-Reference.com, http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/ChreWa00.htm
- New York Jets Official Website, http://www.newyorkjets.com/news/articles/show_permalink/wayne-chrebet-announces-his-retirement
- Sports Illustrated Special Edition "Sports Illustrated present Cinderella Stories", 2000.
- New York Jets Official Website, http://www.newyorkjets.com/blog/posts/209-wayne-chrebet-one-more-time
- New York wide receiver Wayne Chrebet has found a new sport to love, Hoof Beats, accessed January 11, 2007. " Four years ago, he [Chrebet] moved into the horse country of Colts Neck, N.J., and couldn't help but admire the equine specimens with whom he shared his neighborhood."
- Social Sports Kitchen Website
- Former New York Jet Wayne Chrebet Talks Family and Social Sports Kitchen February 5th, 2012, on WNBC-TV New York website.
- "Chrebet welcomes new challenges". Retrieved 2007-12-09.[dead link]
- Wayne Chrebet's Official Website
- Wayne Chrebet at the Internet Movie Database
- ESPN player information
- ESPN article on concussion studies and Chrebet
- Hofstra Athletic Hall of Fame