(Joe McDonald/Sportsday Wire)
With over 11,000 fans at Hofstra last night, the New York Jets Family Night was nothing but a success. A rare nighttime practice gave the fans on Long Island a chance to see their team that moved its operation to Florham Park back in 2009.
“I think it’s great for the fans because that’s where they started right here,” said head coach Todd Bowles. “It’s been awhile since they’ve been back here and they left this place, so they’ve got a lot of loyal fans that came out here to see these guys and we really appreciate it.”
You have to give the Jets credit here. They don’t have to do this. The players probably don’t like to take a bus ride from New Jersey, braving the beach traffic, to come to Hofstra, but the Jets have continued to, at least, give their Long Island based fans something to cheer about.
More importantly, admission was free.
It was also a bit of a hoot for some of the Jet players, guard Willie Colon and defensive end Stephen Bowen are both Hofstra graduates from Long Island and they got a chance to relive their glory days.
“It’s good to see my old locker, which they made fun of,” Colon told reporters. “I always love coming back to Hofstra and my roots. … It was good to see the fans come out on a Sunday. It was awesome.”
“It’s been about 10 years since I played on this field,” Bowen said. “Me and Willie were in the locker room just reminiscing.” As for coming to the Jets this season, he added, “Every kid from New York dreams of playing for the home team. To actually have a chance to do that, I can’t even put it into words.”
Hofstra ended its football program after the 2009 season, so the stadium is now used for lacrosse and soccer. But it didn’t matter as the Jets seems to enjoy the night.
“I was glad we could come out here and have a great day,” said tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, who is a Freeport native.
The only downside was possible losing rookie outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin to a knee injury. Bowles did not know of its severity after the practice.
Matt Flynn was on the field and participated in quarterback drills and 7-on-7s, but not in a full scrimmage. He is still nursing a hamstring injury.
And for good news Mohammad Wilkerson practiced for the first time after pulling a hamstring three weeks ago. He hopes to play against the Giants.
“I hope so, but my hamstring, got to make sure it feels good throughout the week,” Wilkerson said. “Felt good today, that’s why I got some reps with the team. Hopefully I continue to progress through the week.”
Otherwise a good and fun night for Gang Green.