The 2009 Hall of Fame class (in no particular order) kicks off with an inspirational talent...

Let me take you back to a simpler time...

No zone blocking systems, no X's and O's

No "can Mark Sanchez make all of the throws?"No worrying about wedge blocking affecting kickoff returns

No incentive clauses, not likely to be earned

No blogging, no websites, no ESPN

No downing of punts inside the ten

No draft busts, no Kiper, no Million Dollar fines

Football was different, when I used to be nine.

I love football. I enjoy the details, the strategic intricacies and statistical analysis as much as I enjoy the brutal, emotive and spectacular competition. Back when I was nine, though, I had a much more innocent and childlike viewpoint of the game I had just discovered. The razzle-dazzle of the game had me hooked, with the futuristically-dressed players so much more glamorous than the mud-covered soccer players or sweatshirt-wearing cricket players my Father introduced to me as the epitome of competitive sport as a child. My Dad explained the rules to me, but obviously many of the finer points of NFL football escaped me. However, on this day, one player moved faster and did more exciting things than anyone else, so he instantly became my favorite...which brings us to Wesley Walker.

Football (and particularly the Jets) was a big obsession for me throughout my childhood and into adolescence and Wesley Walker remained my favorite player until his retirement after an injury-plagued 1989 season. That first game (the heroic 4 touchdown performance in a 51-45 overtime win over Miami, if you didn't click the link above) led to greater things that season, as Walker caught a career high 12 touchdown passes (also including another three against the Colts in week 11) and caught 49 passes for over 1,000 yards. The Jets went 10-6 (having been 10-1 before injuries set in), eventually being eliminated from the playoffs in the divisional round, as despite Walker catching a long touchdown pass on a flea-flicker, the Browns came back from a 20-10 deficit late in the fourth quarter and won in overtime.

The 1987 season got off to a promising start, when Walker went deep - his forte - for a 55 yard TD in an opening day win over the Bills, but the strike and injuries meant that he would only catch another 8 passes that year as the Jets went 6-9.

In 1988, he got off to a slow start, but then busted out with a three touchdown game in a blowout win over the Oilers in week three. He later added game winning scores against the Lions and Dolphins, as the Jets posted a winning record but missed out on the playoffs. He only caught 26 passes on the season, but continued to be a threat, averaging 21 yards per catch and scoring 7 touchdowns. However, by now he was a shadow of his former self, as evidenced by his dropped catch in the end-zone in a key one point loss to the Patriots in week 11. Fittingly, the game winner against Miami would be his last NFL touchdown.

After the 1989 season, where Walker started just three games and caught just 8 passes, I remember being upset when Walker, a free agent, was apparently being pursued by some other teams (including the Rams, if memory serves), but he never played for another NFL team and retired having played all 154 career games for the Jets and with 438 catches for 8,306 yards and 71 TDs and a healthy 19 yards per catch average (19th best all time - he is 6th best in terms of yards per touch).

It was only once his career had ended that I got into researching Jets history and realized that, although he was my favorite player, I had actually missed the best years of his career.

As a rookie in 1977, the speedy Walker led the NFL in average yards per reception, then in 1978, he led the NFL in receiving yards and was named as a first team all-pro. His 24.4 yards per catch average that year is still good enough for 18th best in NFL history. In 1979, he actually averaged 24.7 yards per catch, although he didn't catch enough passes to qualify for the all-time records. He missed several games in 1980, but still averaged over 20 yards per catch for the fourth straight year.

Over the next four years, the tail end of the Richard Todd era, Walker became more of a possession receiver. His reception numbers went up (including a career high 61 catches in 1983), but his average per catch droppped to the 14-16 yards per catch range. He was just as much of a red zone threat, though, catching 29 touchdown passes over that four year span, including 9 in 13 games in 1981. In the strike-shortened 1982 season, he had 620 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns in just 9 games and went to the Pro Bowl for the second time. In the postseason, he had the go ahead touchdown as the Jets defeated the Bengals and a crucial score when they held off the Raiders to reach the AFC title game.

In 1985, the introduction of draft pick Al Toon to the roster and announcement of strong-armed Ken O'Brien as full-time starting quarterback enabled Walker to return to his deep threat role. He again averaged over 20 yards per catch in each of the next four seasons. The 1985 season featured some great moments, such as when with the Jets up 17-13 against the Bengals, Ken O'Brien threw an interception to Louis Breeden at the six yard line, but he reversed his field and Walker took him down for a key safety. He also had a late game-winner against the Seahawks and a franchise-record 96 yard TD against the Bills as the Jets battled to a wild card position despite having both the team with the AFC's best record and the Superbowl runners-up in their division. Walker would miss four games though and ultimately played 16 games only three times in his 13 year career.

The 1986 season was when I first discovered Wesley and the Jets and saw Walker named as a UPI all-AFC selection even though he wasn't invited to the Pro Bowl. Clearly, his achievements speak for themselves and he is a worthy inclusion in our hall of fame.

However, although he was a fantastic player, this is not the only reason for his inclusion. Walker was inspirational, for the fact that he incredibly managed to achieve such a high level of greatness despite the fact he was legally blind in one eye. He also laid it on the line for the team, as evidenced by disturbing recent reports that he is still in constant pain due to the after effects of a nerve injury to his neck. He is still involved in the community, currently working as a teacher and doing great work for charitable causes. And, over and above all of that, he's still a Jets lifer, as evidenced by him representing the team on Jets night at Shea and apparently knocking back drinks impressively with fans at Dave and Busters 2008 draft party.

To close, however, I want to end on a personal note and take you back to that simpler time. This young newly-minted Jets fan, still only ten, wrote a letter to his new favorite player in 1987. It must have been the worst fan letter ever, just saying how exciting I found American Football to be, recounting a load of his stats and telling him he was the best. I can't imagine it made for very interesting reading and I don't think I ever expected a reply beyond my wildest dreams. A month or so later, a signed photograph came through the door addressed to me. I still have it to this day. It was clear that he had also addressed the envelope himself too. He didn't have to do that, so I am honored to get the chance to pay tribute to Wesley Walker, as a way of thanking him for what was one of the biggest thrills of my childhood.

So, thanks Wesley, welcome to the hall and we wish you good health in the future. Ladies and Gentleman, Wesley Walker...

Tags: Main Page, Bent Double

New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches his team play during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) (Adrian Kraus/AP)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches his team play during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) (Adrian Kraus/AP)

Former Jets LB Erin Henderson is suing the team for wrongful termination and disability discrimination, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini and NJ Advanced Media.

The now-retired linebacker is seeking $3.3 million plus in damages.

According to Henderson, he was placed on the Jets' non-football injury list unjustly. He suffers from bipolar disorder and says that the team didn't give him the proper care. 

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 (Kyle Terada)
(Kyle Terada)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Todd Bowles and the Jets made their statement about President Donald Trump and what's happening in this country when they locked arms on the sidelines during the national anthem on Sunday afternoon. Now the Jets coach wants the world's focus to be on the issues and solutions, not on all the inflammatory Tweets and words.

That was his message on Monday when asked for his feelings about the president's remarks, when he said that players who kneel during the anthem should be fired and labeled them a "son of a bitch."

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September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) passes the football against the Miami Dolphins during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) passes the football against the Miami Dolphins during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

Jets QB Josh McCown led the offense in the team's first win of the season over the Dolphins, 20-6, on Sunday. 

It was his first home game as a Jet, and McCown didn't disappoint. He was accurate, moved the ball around his receiving corps, and most importantly, he impressed head coach Todd Bowles.

"I thought he was very effecient," Bowles told Jets.com's Eric Allen. "Josh has been playing good for about three weeks in a row now. He controls the offense and he sees things. He's playing smart football."

Tags: Josh McCown
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Schwartz, Vacchiano on Jets win 00:02:17
SNY's Jonas Schwartz and Ralph Vacchiano discuss the media and team's reaction to the Jets' win over Miami.

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets got in the win column with a surprisingly easy 20-6 victory over the Dolphins in their home opener, riding a disciplined and efficient defensive performance.

We'll therefore start this week by focusing on the defense...

Tags: Buster Skrine, Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Dylan Donahue, Jamal Adams, Jordan Jenkins, Juston Burris, Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson
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FNNY: Anthem protests in NFL 00:03:05
Taylor Rooks, Marc Malusis and Sal Licata react to NFL teams protesting the national anthem and discuss what players and owners had to say.

From players on the field to acting owner Christopher Johnson and GM Mike Maccagnan, the New York Jets all locked arms during the national anthem before Sunday's 20-6 win over the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium in protest of President Donald Trump's comments from a few days ago.

The Jets had a team meeting Saturday and decided they would lock arms and stand for the anthem as a team. Groups of players from each team around the league on Sunday either locked arms or knelt during the anthem after Trump referred to NFL players who protested the national anthem as a "son of a bitch" and said they should be fired.

Johnson, who is the team's acting owner while his brother, Jets owner Woody Johnson, serves as the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom in the Trump administration, released a statement saying it was an "honor and a privilege" to join the players on the field on Sunday.

Tags: Miami Dolphins, Kelvin Beachum, Leonard Williams
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Jets Post Game Overtime: 9/24 00:10:22
The Jets Post Game crew keeps the analysis going, handing out report cards from the Jets' 20-6 win over Miami in their home opener.

 

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Bowles, McCown discuss win 00:02:17
Todd Bowles and Josh McCown reflect on the Jets' first win of the season, a resounding 20-6 victory over Miami.

All that dismal 0-16 talk is over. And, the New York Jets ended it early with a stunningly dominant performance.

Josh McCown threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Robby Anderson, Bilal Powell ran for a score, and the Jets' defense frustrated Jay Cutler and the Miami Dolphins in a 20-6 victory Sunday in New York's home opener.

"Oh, man, it was awesome," McCown said. "It was special."

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September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets players lock arms during the national anthem before the game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets players lock arms during the national anthem before the game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

Jets players locked arms during the national anthem on Sunday ahead of their game against the Dolphins.

Acting owner Christopher Johnson and general manager Mike Maccagnan joined the players by locking arms with them on the field.

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New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) celebrates with teammates during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) (Adrian Kraus/AP)
New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) celebrates with teammates during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) (Adrian Kraus/AP)

DE Muhammad Wilkerson and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins will suit up for the Jets' Week 3 game against the Dolphins

Wilkerson missed practices during the week with a shoulder injury after suffering a shoulder injury during the team's Week 2 loss to the Raiders. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins will return following his two-game suspension at the beginning of the season.

QB Christian Hackenberg, WR Chad Hansen, CB Derrick Jones, S Rontez Miles, OL Brian Winters, TE Eric Tomlinson, and TE Jordan Leggett are inactive.

 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Muhammad Wilkerson
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Bowles stresses execution, tempo 00:01:10
Todd Bowles tells Jeane Coakley what he's expecting to see from his team in its home opener at MetLife Stadium.

 

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NFL's response to Trump 00:03:00
Mike Westhoff, Ray Lucas and Willie Colon weigh in on the national conversation regarding athletes' right to protest.

Jets RB Matt Forte and T Kelvin Beachum were among NFL players who retweeted posts criticizing President Trump's comments on Friday about NFL players who kneel for the national anthem.

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Can Jets rally home crowd? 00:03:12
Jets Pre Game Live breaks down what role emotions will play in the Jets' home opener against Miami.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME

The Miami Dolphins (1-0) at the Jets (0-2) at the Meadowlands on Sunday, Sept. 24, at 1 p.m. ET.


Coverage on SNY:

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bilal Powell, Christian Hackenberg, Miami Dolphins, Elijah McGuire, Josh McCown, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Vacchiano's 3 Keys to a Jets win 00:01:11
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano discusses his three keys to a Jets' victory vs. the Miami Dolphins in Week 3.

SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano discusses his three keys to a Jets victory over the Miami Dolphins in Week 3.

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In the latest episode of The Jet Stream, Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon look back at the Week 2 loss in Oakland, and discuss what the Jets need to do to secure their first win of the season. Later, Jonas and Willie debut two of the show's newest segments, "Willie's Story Time" and "How being an NFL player is better than being you."

Click below to listen!

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 (Stan Szeto)
(Stan Szeto)

Jets CB Buster Skrine was fined $24,309 after being penalized for a helmet-to-helmet hit against the Raiders. 

In the third quarter, Skrine picked up on a short pass to RB DeAndre Washington, but he caught Washington with his helmet first resulting in a penalty that set up a 43-yard touchdown for the Raiders. 

The Raiders had four personal fouls in the game, but none were fined. 

Tags: Buster Skrine
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Seferian-Jenkins returns to Jets 00:01:16
Jeane Coakley and Jets' tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins discuss playing for the first time since December and how he can help the team.

 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
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 (Rick Scuteri/AP)
(Rick Scuteri/AP)

G Brian Winters and TE Eric Tomlinson (knee) are out for Sunday's game against the Dolphins, the Jets announced Friday.

Either Dakota Dozier or Brent Qvale will start at RG for Winters, Jets head coach Todd Bowles told reporters.

TE Jordan Leggett (knee) and S Rontez Miles (eye) are doubtful.

Tags: Brent Qvale, Brian Winters, Dakota Dozier, Jordan Leggett, Muhammad Wilkerson, Rontez Miles, Will Tye
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Jets re-signed KR/WR Kalif Raymond to their practice squad after cutting him earlier in the week.

Raymond muffing a punt during the Jets' loss to the raiders in Oakland.

"He's got some tools to develop," coach Todd Bowles said on Thursday. "There are some things we like about him with his speed and catch radius as a receiver, so he's worth bringing back."

Bowles indicated Raymond would likely remain on the practice squad but added that there's still a chance he could make the active roster.

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets' RBs 00:00:47
According to offensive coordinator John Morton and Matt Forte, the Jets are looking to utilize all three running backs in their home opener.

 

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Jets Game Plan: Moving forward 00:03:58
The panel breaks down the positives and negatives from Sunday's game and how the Jets can learn from that loss and work towards a win.

 

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Jets have signed DE David Bass and cut LB Freddie Bishop to make room on the roster.

Bass, who was selected 233rd by the Raiders in the 2013 NFL Draft, had been released by the Seahawks on Tuesday.

Bishop had been signed from the practice squad to the active roster last week.

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:02:02
Jeane Coakley talks with quarterback Josh McCown about the Jets' home opener and with CEO Christopher Johnson about Todd Bowles' future.

 

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 (Stan Szeto)
(Stan Szeto)

It's been a tough two weeks of the season for Jets linebacker Darron Lee, and head coach Todd Bowles wants to see more out of the second-year player. 

Standing at 6-foot-1 and 231 pounds, Lee has looked overmatched at times during the Jets' first two games this year. So far Lee has 12 tackles and one sack. 

Tags: Darron Lee
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New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) looks to the fans prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) looks to the fans prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)

Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (bruised shoulder) did not participate in Wednesday's practice, but he believes he'll be ready to play against the Dolphins on Sunday. 

Wilkerson suffered the injury during last week's matchup in Oakland, but does not think the bruise is too serious. Head coach Todd Bowles also said he doesn't believe the injury will keep Wilkerson out of action. 

Below is the rest of the Jets' injury report from Wednesday's practice: 

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Christopher Johnson, the Jets' acting owner as his brother Woody Johnson serves as Ambassador to the United Kingdom under President Donald Trump, says the team isn't tanking.

"It couldn't be further from the truth," Johnson told reporters on Wednesday. "I want to win every game. Every player in that locker room wants to win. What you're seeing, I think, are growing pains. These are young guys. There are some older guys on the team. Some of them, they're doing an extraordinary job. But I think you're going to see this team get better and better and better. That's what I'm looking for. And we are definitely not tanking."

The Jets, who have started the season 0-2 and are expected to have one ot the worst records in the NFL this season, trimmed the roster of the majority of their veterans during the offseason.

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Dec 11, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers defensive end Datone Jones (95) during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 38-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)
Dec 11, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers defensive end Datone Jones (95) during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 38-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)

The Jets held workouts with six players on Tuesday, reports NFL Insider Adam Caplan.

The team worked out wide receivers Corey "Philly" Brown, Josh Huff, and Paul Turner; defensive ends Datone Jones and Alex McCalister; and defensive tackle Stefan Charles.

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Sep 17, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back DeAndre Washington (33) picks up a first down before being tackled by New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee (58) in the first quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports (Cary Edmondson)
Sep 17, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back DeAndre Washington (33) picks up a first down before being tackled by New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee (58) in the first quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports (Cary Edmondson)

The Jets defense may have allowed 45 points to the Raiders this past Sunday, but they are not embarrassed as they believe the unit as taken positive steps forward. 

The Raiders racked up 410 total yards as they had both the run and pass game working in their home opener. Though it was a bad performance, LB Darron Lee spoke about why there were no heads hung in the locker room following the game. 

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: The Jets surprisingly hung around for the better part of three quarters, but eventually the game slipped away from them and the Raiders came away with the anticipated blowout win. Aside from a couple of ill-timed turnovers, the run defense was the biggest issue in yesterday's game...

Tags: Darron Lee, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Cary Edmondson)
(Cary Edmondson)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets surprisingly hung around for the better part of three quarters, but eventually the game slipped away from them and the Raiders came away with the anticipated blowout win. Aside from a couple of ill-timed turnovers, the run defense was the biggest issue in yesterday's game.

Let's break down the performances on the defensive side of the ball from the Jets' 45-20 loss to the Raiders in Week 2...

Tags: Buster Skrine, Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Dylan Donahue, Jamal Adams, Jordan Jenkins, Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Steve McLendon
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Latest look at the next Jets QB 00:00:44
SNY.tv takes a look at how the top collegiate quarterbacks did on the field last weekend.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Another loss for the Jets, another step closer to the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft.

Of course, even if they don't land the top spot they seem sure to land something in the Top 10, where they'll have a shot at one of the many top college quarterbacks available. Here's a look at some of them, and how their stock has risen or fallen from last week...

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