D’Brickashaw Ferguson looked up from midfield and saw the covering rise along the facing of the upper bowl at MetLife Stadium, and he clapped along with the Jets fans on hand.
There, between the names Weeb Ewbank and Mark Gastineau, was D’Brickashaw Ferguson next to the No. 60. The former left tackle, who grew up in Freeport and played for Freeport High, had just entered the Jets’ Ring of Honor.
“This is such a surreal moment,” Ferguson said at the mic moments before the unveiling in a ceremony at halftime of the Jets’ 22-17 loss to the Patriots on Sunday.
His parents were out there along with other family members and some of the other past entrants into the 20-member Ring of Honor, including Wayne Chrebet, Wesley Walker, Marty Lyons and Nick Mangold, Ferguson’s old offensive linemate. Mangold and Ferguson were drafted in the first round by the Jets in 2006.
Ferguson made the NFL’s All-Rookie team that season, the launch of a 10-year career spent entirely with the Jets. He made three Pro Bowls along the way and was selected to the Jets’ All-Time Team in 2019.
His blocking ability was exceeded only by his durability.
Despite all those collisions along the line of scrimmage, Ferguson never missed a practice or a game, starting all 167, including seven in the postseason, through 2015. He played 10,707 out of 10,708 snaps.
The one he missed? It was a desperation trick play on the final snap of a game.
“When I think of what it took to get here, I recognize that I would not have made it without the help of others,” Ferguson told the crowd. “I’m aware of all the sacrifices that people have made so I can be here before you.
“You know, playing the game of football, it’s hard to leave sometimes. But it’s important for my ability to grow and to be the best version of myself.”
Freeport High’s select chorale sang the national anthem before the game. Ferguson was made an honorary captain for it and was out for the coin toss. The Jets ran congratulatory videos from former teammates during the first half. Then came the ceremony.
Ferguson thanked God, the Jets’ organization, the Johnson ownership family, his own family, friends, teammates, coaches and the fans.
He kept his speech short and closed with these fitting words:
“And so if I’ve learned anything from football, it’s this: If I show up every day and do my best, then good things tend to happen.”