Inspirational ex-Jet Dennis Byrd killed in car crash
Posted by Michael David Smith on October 15, 2016, 9:09 PM EDT NBC SPORTS.COM
Dennis Byrd, a former Jets defensive lineman best known for battling back from a serious spinal injury and recovering to walk again, has died at the age of 50.
Byrd was killed in a car crash in Claremore, Oklahoma, today. According to Fox 23, Byrd was driving down the highway when his vehicle was struck head on by another vehicle, which had crossed the center line. A 12-year-old passenger in Byrd’s vehicle was hospitalized, as was the 17-year-old boy driving the vehicle that hit Byrd’s vehicle. Byrd was pronounced dead at the scene.
A second-round draft pick of the Jets in 1989, Byrd played four NFL seasons before suffering a serious neck injury in a collision with a teammate. Byrd was paralyzed and his career was over, but after lengthy physical therapy he was able to walk again. At the Jets’ home opener in 1993, Byrd walked to the middle of the field to represent his team in the pregame coin toss, and there he was given the team’s Most Inspirational Player Award, which is now known as the Dennis Byrd Award.
In 2012, when the Jets retired Byrd’s No. 90 jersey, he said that in his retirement from football he had found joy in coaching youth sports and speaking on behalf of people with disabilities.
“I really have loved coaching football and working with kids, talking about the lessons I’ve learned as an athlete and the journey as someone with a disability,” Byrd said then. “Football has always been, for me, a cornerpost of strength and a way to accomplish things in life, whether it’s on the field or just in maintaining a quality of life. All those lessons — dedication, perseverance, teamwork — they all dovetail nicely into living a blessed life.”
( I have always hated the Jets even though I have been to plenty of their games. Especially in the 1970's when you couldn't get a Giant ticket. I did always have a lot of respect for Dennis Byrd who was an old school tough guy in the mold of Joe Klecko. Another blue collar guy I have tremendous respect for. Those were the kind of guys they used to have in the NFL. Marginal Talent but lots of heart. They left all out on the field and not in the club the night before. Or their baby moma's crib as they fathered the fourteenth kid with the fourteenth baby moma. You don't have those kinds of guys to root for anymore in the NFL. Klecko. Byrd. Dobler. Deacon Jones. Sam Huff. Chuck Howley. Mike Ditka. Mike Curtis. Jack Ham. Roger Staubach. Tucker Fredrickson. Joe Morrison. Ray Nitschke. Willie Lanier. Buck Buchanan. Bob Lilly. Tough guys. Real football players. Patriots.
In another thread I told how I saw Mario in the Pork Store. He is a diehard Steeler fan like Tony Dogs is a die hard Saints fans. We used to go to the Giants game together whenever we played the Steelers. I even went to a game in Pittsburgh once. So he knows what a crazy Giants fan I am. When he asked me how I thought we were shaping up I told him I have stopped following football. The guys in the pork store were aghast as they are crazy Jets fans. But they got what I was talking about. Another guy in the store said the same thing as me. Another deplorable. We have just had enough of these people shitting on us. On the flag. On our country. It is time to hunker down and not give your money to people that despise you. Werther it is the NFL or the RNC.
Those guys I listed. They are long gone. They were the backbone of the league.
Not the shit we have today. Football is dead. It just doesn't know enough to fall over.)