Archive for Sunday, April 28, 2002

Jets’ Chrebet not thinking about money now

April 28, 2002


— All is well for Wayne Chrebet these days. He's healthy. He enjoys coming to work.

And he beams whenever his 5-month-old infant son, Lukas, is mentioned.

The fact that the New York Jets' most popular player is heading into the final year of his contract is, well, a matter for another time.

Not that Chrebet wouldn't mind a new deal that likely would keep him with the Jets for the rest of his NFL career. It simply isn't of the highest priority right now.

"It's not like I won't be well-compensated this year," Chrebet said Saturday at the team's minicamp.

Chrebet will earn $4.5 million in 2002, his eighth pro season after being discovered as an undrafted free agent by then-coach Rich Kotite one of the few positive aspects of the Kotite regime.

"A longterm deal pretty much would be my last one and it would be nice to finish where I started and hopefully end up being in a Super Bowl or two here.

"Not many people get a chance to play their entire career with one team and it would be nice if that could happen."

Coach Herman Edwards sounds as if it will happen.

The Jets simply had other priorities this offseason, including replacing six starters on defense two cornerbacks, a safety, an outside linebacker and two tackles and retooling the offensive line.

They also have several other impending free agents, including All-Pro center Kevin Mawae and rising star guard Randy Thomas.

"The feeling of the organization is we want Wayne to be here and we will try to do everything to keep him here," Edwards said.

"I think he wants to be here. I expect it will get done."

Most Jets fans wouldn't want to imagine Chrebet in another uniform. He has been among their most popular players since coming out of Hofstra, the site of the team's headquarters, as well as one of the most productive. A few years ago, his No. 80 jersey was the second-biggest seller behind Brett Favre's.

In seven seasons, he has 456 receptions for 5,835 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Although early on he was not a big part of the new offense Edwards installed last year, Chrebet closed strong.

He caught 56 passes for a 13.4 average, but just one touchdown.

"How many guys have caught 500 passes before they are 30?" the 28-year-old Chrebet said.

"I thought about that and it's pretty interesting.

"But it doesn't have to do with statistics. It's being a leader, helping the young guys, blocking downfield. That's where I get my real joy playing football."

Could he get as much joy elsewhere? Even, perhaps, in the same stadium, but for the other tenant at the Meadowlands?

"Honestly, everyone knows I was a Giants fan growing up," he said. "People are like, 'Are you going to go to the Giants?'

"I don't know what I am going to do. I live in New Jersey. I want to stay close to home. I'd like to be here."

Meanwhile, in Giants' camp, it won't take long for Tiki Barber and Ron Dayne to figure out who their favorite new teammate is. Because the way rookie fullback Charles Stackhouse sees it, it's his job to take care of them.

"I love to block," Stackhouse said Saturday. "It's the contact in the game that I love so much."

Stackhouse's newest position is that he will very likely be the Giants starting fullback in September, even though all 32 teams passed on him in the seven rounds of the draft. It was a little bit of a shock for Stackhouse to have to sign as an undrafted free agent, especially after hearing he could have been drafted in the third round.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.