In 1992, the New York Jets defensive end, Dennis Byrd, in a tragic second, hit head-first into his 275-pound teammate, shattering a vertebra, one of the 33 bones that make up the spine. In that moment, he was left on the field partially paralyzed… 19 years later, Byrd returns the #90 jersey, that was cut from his back on that 1992 day, to Coach Rex Ryan and the Jets’ organization.
Now while I don’t really understand the jersey returned sentiment (Can anyone help me with that?), I’m well aware of the emotional impact his presence made on the current Jets team. As the honorary captain for this playoff Jets team against the formidable Pittsburgh Steelers, Byrd re-energized the already awakened Jets with a speech for the ages. The profound and passionately significant point of Byrd’s speech resonated with me as a “must share” with readers.:
A man has a body, a mind and a spirit. There are times in a man’s life when his body will tell him it can’t continue on. There are times in a man’s life when his mind will tell him that the task set for him is too hard to accomplish. Those two don’t matter. It’s a man’s will and his spirit, and in those moments and in those times that will tell him ‘You can do it,’ and it will make the mind and body follow along.
While this is a powerful in-between-the-lines message, it is also such an impactful one to take into the most calm and tumultuous parts of every day life. This man told his personal story to this Jets team, a group of men in a completely different generation, where the men can typically be bigger and the hits can potentially be harder. But, they got the message. From all the lessons taught, speeches delivered, or plays drawn out, I believe the one common thread and driving force among them is simply the hope that they get it…