With Favre Mania sweeping over Jets’ fans, some may be forgetting the quarterback we are now forced to say goodbye to. Expected to be released before the day’s end, the Jets will be playing their first preseason game this evening without Chad Pennington on the roster.
Throughout this offseason I have been one of the harshest Pennington critics a Jets’ fan could reasonably be. My evaluation of his abilities were never an attempt to discredit his quality as a man. It was my belief that Pennington had reached his ceiling as a New York Jet, and that it was time to embrace a future where he wasn’t the offense’s primary signal caller.
While I stand by my analysis of his inconsistencies as a quarterback, I’m forced to remember the better days.
The 2002 season provides some of the best memories of Chad Pennington a Jets’ fan could muster. His fired up debut as the Jets’ starting QB bring memories of a young guy, headbutting his teammates before the game started.
Over the years we saw Pennington manage enough games to lead him into Jets’ records books. But his classiness solidified his position in the hearts of Jets’ fans.
When I declared my support for Kellen Clemens back in June, I wrote the following about Chad Pennington:
Chad has a quality about him that makes me want to see him succeed. He’s a great man that effortlessly displays class and integrity. With the terrible luck our favored franchise has had over the years, it’s incredible to know that he wants nothing more than to be our starting QB, and I respect the hell out of him for it.
So here’s to a better future for Chad Pennington. Hopefully he finds himself wearing a uniform for a team that can properly utilize his skill set. Placing Pennington on a team with a strong defense and an effective running game may allow him to continue the efficiency that worked so well in New York for a few years. The Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs seem to be the most obvious landing spots for the veteran QB.
No matter where he goes, I sincerely wish him the best. He may no longer possess all of the physical tools from earlier in his career, but his heart and competitive streak remains unparalleled.
Goodbye, Chad Pennington. It has been an honor having you in New York.