EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (Nov. 6, 2005) -- Wayne Chrebet walked gingerly into the New York Jets ' locker room, his jersey and pads still on and a trainer by his side helping guide his way.
The wide receiver had just suffered a concussion -- at least the ninth of his college and pro careers -- after making a big catch in the Jets' 31-26 loss to the San Diego Chargers.
Chrebet settled in the chair in front of his locker and held his head in his hands for a few moments, undoubtedly realizing that his career was again in jeopardy.
With the Jets facing third-and-5 with 2 minutes left and driving for a potential go-ahead score, Chrebet caught a 6-yard pass near the left sideline -- another clutch play in a career filled with them. Chargers safety Jerry Wilson drilled Chrebet as he caught the pass and sent the receiver to the ground on his back, and the back of Chrebet's head violently hit the Giants Stadium turf.
Chrebet stayed down as team medical personnel rushed over. Television replays appeared to show that Chrebet lost consciousness at least for a few seconds.
"Wayne's as tough as they come, so if he's down there, you know it's serious," running back Curtis Martin said.
By the time Chrebet got back to his feet and slowly walked back to the sideline with trainers, it was clear something was wrong. And it looked all too familiar to the Jets.
"I have a lot of concern that he'll be OK," quarterback Vinny Testaverde said. "It's just hard to see not only a teammate, but a very close friend get hurt the way he was."
Back in the locker room after the game, Chrebet needed help untying his shoes and taking his jersey and pads off. He could barely lift his T-shirt off over his head.
Jets GM Terry Bradway stopped in briefly and whispered a few words to Chrebet and shook his hand, before patting him on the leg and leaving. A few minutes later, Chrebet left the locker room without speaking to reporters.
Chrebet finished the game with three catches for 39 yards, including a 20-yard catch on third-and-18 that helped keep the Jets' last scoring drive alive late in the fourth quarter.
Coach Herman Edwards wouldn't speculate on the receiver's future -- only to say, "Wayne Chrebet has a concussion, so we'll look at that again."
Chrebet, in his 11th year with the Jets, had a post-traumatic migraine early in the 2003 season and missed the final eight games that season with postconcussion syndrome. He considered retiring, but instead chose to come back last season. Chrebet played in all 16 games, but sustained a mild concussion in the regular-season finale against St. Louis.
He missed the Jets' first-round win over San Diego, but returned for the divisional round loss to Pittsburgh the following week -- although he had no catches.
Chrebet again considered retirement this offseason, but decided to return. He has 15 catches for 153 yards this season, and his 580 career receptions rank him second to Don Maynard's 627 on the team's all-time list.