When WR Wayne Chrebet came to Jets training camp in July of 1995 as a free-agent signee, the 5' 9 1/2 inch tall athlete from Hofstra was turned away by the security guard, thinking he was "just another Hofstra kid" trying to sneak his way in to see some of the big stars training in Hempstead, Long Island, like QB Boomer Esiason or LB Mo Lewis.
WR Ryan Spadola, too was a Jersey resident. He, too, came from an FCS school, a I-AA school. But nobody turned the blond-haired, 6'3 Spadola away at the gates of SUNY Cortland, even if the Jets depth charts had his name written in pencil rather than Sharpie, down at the very bottom, just like Chrebet years ago.
When Chrebet reached out to Ryan to talk pointers on Jets training camp, it wasn't just an email conversation between a legendary Jet and a rookie still learning the ropes. It was also a bridge between two powerful Northeast football programs in the mid-1990s, Hofstra and Lehigh, at the I-AA level.
It wasn't a perfect analogy. But it was still a pretty damned good one.
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