Cover image for Every down, every distance : my journey to the NFL
Every down, every distance : my journey to the NFL
Chrebet, Wayne.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Doubleday, 1999.
Physical Description:
ix, 275 pages : color illustrations ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV939.C49 A3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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The NFL's most popular wide receiver tells the remarkable and inspirational story of how he went from an undrafted walk-on to an everyman hero and star of the New York Jets. Growing up in hardscrabble Garfield, New Jersey, Wayne Chrebet was always too small or too slow or too something to be taken seriously as a football player. And even after an impressive career in high school, he wasn't even a blip on the recruiting radar screens of the big-time college programs. Instead, Wayne went to Hofstra University in Long Island without a scholarship. Mom and Dad paid the eighteen-thousand-dollar-a-year tuition, and Wayne held up his end of the deal by earning a degree while setting record after record on the football field. But even after tying an NCAA mark held by Jerry Rice, Wayne's name was not called during the 1995 NFL draft. Undaunted, Wayne dedicated himself to being ready if and when he got the chance to prove the skeptics wrong. Four remarkable years and hundreds of catches later, Wayne has been singled out as one of the key ingredients that turned the Jets from laughingstock to Super Bowl contender. His secret is simple. He plays as if every down and every distance to go were his last. Full of inspiration, motivation, and charm,Every Down, Every Distanceis the perfect book for football fans who root for the underdog.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Talk about role models! Chrebet, the star wide receiver for the New York Jets, is the poster boy for every undersized, speed-challenged kid who dreams of the National Football League. Despite a stellar high-school career, Chrebet received no scholarships to play in college; he played anyway and set receiving records at Hofstra, but he went undrafted by the NFL ("Too small"). The Jets let him come to training camp because they needed victims for the real talent to pound on. Guess who was still standing at the end of camp? This is a very enjoyable sports memoir. Chrebet's ebullient on-field personality comes through vividly as he tells of his successes and setbacks. He also generously praises those who made it possible for him to succeed, particularly his parents. There is a lot of "then-we-played" and "I-scored-two-touchdowns," but Chrebet's enthusiasm for football and life overcomes the cliches inherent in this type of book. A fun read for football fans. --Wes Lukowsky

Library Journal Review

An undersized, overachieving wide receiver for the New York Jets, Chrebet is considered a throwback to an earlier era of football. Similarly, his "as-told-to" autobiography is a throwback to an older style of sports book. He doesn't insult anyone; instead, he champions the values of teamwork, extra effort, loyalty, and intense family attachment. The most interesting thing about this book is its contrast to the volume "written" by the more spectacular Jets receiver Keyshawn Johnson, Just Give Me the Damn Ball (Warner, 1997). Johnson, who was then just coming off his rookie season, maligned coaches and teammates (including Chrebet), all in the spirit of telling-it-like-it-is. In contrast, Chrebet demonstrates that discretion is the better part of valor by not mentioning the past dissension here. (A little less discretion, however, would have meant a racier read.) For juvenile sports collections, especially in the New York/New Jersey area.ÄJohn M. Maxymuk, Rutgers Univ. Lib., Camden, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Sleepless in Baltimore Why am I here? I asked myself that question--over and over--as I was lying in bed in a Baltimore hotel room. It was the middle of the night. My eyes were wide open. The calendar said it was April 1, 1995, but unfortunately, this was not the middle of some goofy April Fools' joke. In only a matter of hours, the sun would be up and I would be at Johns Hopkins University for a tryout camp hosted by the Baltimore Stallions (known at the time as the Baltimore Football Club) of the Canadian Football League. This was not to be confused with the NFL's annual scouting combine, which invites more than three hundred draft-eligible players in the country--as rated by league scouts--to spend a week at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, showing their stuff to coaches, general managers, and scouts. After finishing up a pretty good career as a wide receiver at Hofstra University, I though I might get a chance to be among that top three hundred. I guess my invitation got lost in the mail before it reached my parents' home in Wanaque, New Jersey. I was one of about a hundred and ninety guys that paid fifty bucks each and signed an injury waiver so that members of the Stallions' player personnel department could see us. Their roster was already pretty well set from the team that had lost the 1994 Grey Cup to the British Columbia Lions on a last-second field goal, so it wasn't as if they were looking for a particular person to sign. It was like, no matter what you did, they were going to say, "Sorry, we're not interested." How do you get up for something like that? I had only gone to Baltimore because Kenny Colon, one of my fellow wide receivers at Hofstra, was going and asked if I wanted to come along. My CFL negotiating rights already belonged to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but the rules in that league were loose enough that the Stallions would have had no problem signing me if they wanted to. Besides, I figured it might be worthwhile to show what I could do in front of some pro football types, regardless of where they were from. At that time, my agent couldn't even get phone calls returned from something called the United Football Association, which I don't think ever played a game. NFL teams were sending me nice warm letters like this one: March 13, 1995 Dear Sir, Thank you for your interest in the Philadelphia Eagles. We have received your film and statistical history and have reviewed it accordingly. The college draft and the free agent market provide us with such a significant number of available players that it makes it impossible to offer tryouts to everyone who may desire one. At this time, those players currently available to us are more in line with the caliber of player that we are looking for to fill the few roster spots that will become available. Should you decide that you would like to further pursue playing in the NFL, you will find a card enclosed with the phone number for NFL International. Best of luck in the pursuit of your future goals. Sincerely, John Wooten Vice President/Director of Player Personnel Philadelphia Eagles Football Club, Inc. What he really was saying to me was: "Look, kid. We know, even without ever actually having scouted you, that you're not good enough for the NFL. Maybe you should see if you can cut it in our version of the minors, the World League of American Football, before you try to hang out with the big boys." Once I got to Baltimore, I realized that what the Stallions were staging was just a giant meat market. The only thing missing was a USDA approved stamp on my butt. And the only thing I was going home with was a lost night of sleep. That's because the night before I got up close and personal with one of the loudest, most annoying sounds I had ever heard in my life: my father's snoring! And I do mean SNORING!!! Now, you have to understand that my dad, Wayne Sr., and I are as close as can be, so it was automatic that he was going to make this trip with me. Our relationship is much more like that of best friends than of a father and a son. We're buddies to the end. In fact, a lot of times I don't even call him Dad. I call him Dude. I just had never given much thought to the sleeping arrangements in the hotel room we would be sharing. Kenny had one of the two beds, of course. That left Dad and me to share the other, something we had never done before as adults. Believe me, it is something we will never do again. Dad wasn't just snoring up a storm. He was snoring up a hurricane. The guy was making furniture move. So as I was lying in bed, still staring into the darkness, I'd finally say, "Dude, you're killing me. I have got to sleep." "I'm sorry," he'd say before turning over. Then he'd start again five seconds later. And I'd be saying to myself, Oh, man, come on . . . This went on all night. It was horrible. It was the closest I ever came to taking a whack at him. I wound up standing in front of the window, watching the sun come up. Before I knew it, we were out the door and on the field. I was the piece of meat with the bags under his eyes, yawning. Had it not been so cold, I probably could have gone to sleep right there on the field. The first clue that this was not a high-class operation was the fact we were given no warm-up. It was like: "OK, we want you to run this pattern . . . then run that drill . . . then run this drill . . ." If the idea was to see how many guys could pull their hamstrings in one morning, this was the perfect way to do it. There must have been about twenty-five receivers out there. There were quarterbacks, but most of them didn't throw the ball as well as I was used to. Carlos Garay, my quarterback at Hofstra, had a great combination of strength and accuracy that was pretty hard to duplicate. Unfortunately, he wasn't there. Excerpted from Every Down, Every Distance: My Journey to the NFL by Wayne Chrebet, Vic Carucci All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.