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Wayne Chrebet is a former football player who played 11 seasons from 1995-2005 as a wide receiver for the New York Jets.
Chrebet played his collegiate career at Hofstra University. At Hofstra, Chrebet was a four-year letter-winner who twice led the Flying Dutchmen (now known as The Pride) in receiving. Additionally, he set the single season and career touchdown marks with 16 and 31, respectively. In 1994, Chrebet became Hofstra's first 1,000-yard receiver. Along the way he set a Hofstra school record with 245 receiving yards in a game against Delaware and tied Jerry Rice for the NCAA I-AA mark with five touchdowns. For his accomplishments, Chrebet was inducted into the first annual Hofstra University Athletic Hall of Fame and had his jersey retired.
Although he was not drafted by any team at the National Football League Draft in 1995, Chrebet eventually earned a walk-on opportunity with the New York Jets. Chrebet worked his way up the depth chart from to make the team and was the first Hofstra football player to make an NFL roster since John Schmitt in 1964.
Chrebet began his Jets career in style, coming up big in a number of games. 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 down conversions. 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 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.
Chrebet's career ended prematurely in 2005 when he sustained a serious concussion on a clean play. Despite being knocked unconscious for several minutes, Chrebet still made that third-down catch for a first down, symbolic of the type of plays he made throughout his career. Chrebet's 580 receptions rank him 2nd and his 7,365 yards from scrimmage place him 5th all-time in the New York Jets record books. Among all-time National Football League players who were not drafted, he owns the third-most receptions in the history of the league, trailing only Rod Smith and Gary Clark.
Chrebet's number 80 has not been issued by the team since he retired, and it is generally understood that no Jet will wear that number in the foreseeable future.
The NFL Network recognized Wayne Chrebet's career in 2009 by including Chrebet at the 10 position in their Top 10 episode "Best Undrafted Players".