|Date of birth:||August 14, 1973|
|Place of birth:||Garfield, New Jersey|
|Career highlights and awards|
Career NFL statistics
|Stats at NFL.com|
High school and college career
After graduating from Gardner, Chrebet remained in the tri-state area, attending Hofstra University in the Nassau County city of Hempstead. Chrebet would enjoy a very productive college football career. Playing from 1991-1994, he set several school records, which include the single-game receiving yards record (245), touchdowns in a game (five), season (sixteen) and career (thirty-one). A four-year letter-winner, he twice led Hofstra in receiving yards, and during his 1994 Senior season he became the first player in school history to amass 1,000 receiving yards in a single eason. He also etched his name in the NCAA Division I-AA record book by receiving five touchdowns in a single game, tying a record held by future NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.
Hofstra has since honored Chrebet for his outstanding college career. He was inducted into the Hofstra University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006 as part of its inaugural class, and his jersey #3 was retired.
Despite his collegiate success, the 5'10" Chrebet was not regarded as an NFL prospect, and went undrafted in the 1995 NFL Draft. He secured a tryout for the Baltimore Stallions of Canadian Football League, but was cut after one day.
Chrebet's big break came when he was granted a walk-on opportunity with the NFL's New York Jets, who at the time trained at Hofstra's campus. His chances of remaining on the team for long were nothing short of astronomical: he entered training camp 11th of 11 on the Jets' wide receiver depth chart; NFL teams rarely carry more than five receivers into the season. In an incident that would later become iconic, Chrebet was stopped and detained at the front gate on his first day of training camp by a security guard, who thought Chrebet was too small to be a real player. A Jets team official was summoned to verify he was an authorized walk-on and could enter the training complex. With a stellar performance in training camp and the preseason, Chrebet managed to make the team's final 53-man roster, the first Hofstra alumnus to make an NFL team in three decades.
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 a 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.
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 wore #80 jersey for his entire 11-season career as a Jet. Although it has not been formally retired, the Jets have not reissued it since he retired, and it is generally understood that no Jet will wear that number again in the foreseeable future. He was, however, formally inducted into the New York Jets Ring of Honor during halftime of the Monday December 1, 2014 game against the Miami Dolphins.
Awards and Honors
- 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 a HB option pass 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: Inducted into the Hofstra University Athletic Hall of Fame.
- 2005: Awarded the Ed Block Courage Award.
- 2010: NFL Top 10: Undrafted Players #10.
- 2014: Inducted into the New York Jets Ring of Honor.
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 was formally inducted into the New York Jets Ring of Honor December 1, 2014. 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