Rex Ryan expressed disappointment in Fireman Ed’s resignation as the Jets' de facto mascot.
“I love that guy’s passion and energy that he would bring and, really, he’s a great fan,” the coach said Monday, a day after Ed Anzalone penned a guest column detailing his reasons for vacating his post as leader of the Jets chant at home games. “I really admire him. He was great. But I think if we do our job on the field that Jet chant will continue. But I certainly appreciate “Fireman Ed.”
Anzalone was fixture on the stadium JumboTron at home games as he single-handedly orchestrated the well-known “J-E-T-S, JETS! JETS! JETS!” on kickoffs. But he abruptly left MetLife Stadium during halftime of their eventual 49-19 loss to the Patriots on Thursday night and later deleted his Twitter account. A few days later, he explained in Metro New York that he was tired of getting into confrontations with fans at games.
“For people to be harassing him at the games – he’s not in the locker room with us, he’s not on the payroll or nothing,” said linebacker Bryan Thomas. “He’s just a regular fan just like everybody else in there. So I don’t know why they would harass him. I don’t know. That’s crazy to me.”
Though Anzalone said he still would attend games, just not as his “Fireman Ed” persona, Thomas seemed hopeful that Anzalone would reprise his stadium role.
“I think he’ll be back,” the linebacker said.
Asked jokingly if he was shaken up about the resignation of “Fireman Ed,” Ryan joked: “If he could play linebacker I’d use him.”
“I like him,” he added. “I don’t know what to say. I appreciate him.”