Sunday, January 16, 2011
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Saturday night, Head Coach Rex Ryan invited former Jets defensive end Dennis Byrd as New York's keynote motivational speaker. During the 1992 season, Byrd suffered a career ending neck injury to his C5 vertabrae in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Dennis was temporarily paralyzed by the injury sending shockwaves through the NFL. The following season Bryd made a remarkable improvement using crutches to make his way onto the Meadowlands Field.
Byrd received a warm of reception as fans applauded his courage, perserverance and undying optimism that may very well have helped him overcome paralysis. The current Jets squad was inspired by Byrd's story as it was reported there was not a dry eye in the house following the riveting speech.
In his two seasons as Jets head man, Rex Ryan has served as the emotional leader for his squad, renown for his own stirring locker room speeches. Ryan deferred to Byrd, a living life example of resolve and bravery, two characteristics the Jets will need to exude when they battle the Patriots Sunday.