On August 29th at the New York Jets Kickoff Luncheon, the name of the newest member to be inducted into the Ring of Honor was announced. I posted the press release by The New York Jets this week, but I like to delve into the personal history of the man and the newest New York Jet legend, Kevin Mawae.
Kevin Mawae, Center, played for the New York Jets from 1998 to 2005, but his personal football story starts before that. His father was in the military and Mawae began playing football in Hanau, Germany, where his father was stationed. When his father was deployed to Louisiana, Mawae attended Leesville High School, where he was an All-State football selection as well as earning all-academic honors.
From 1989 to 1993, Mawae played for the Louisiana State University (LSU) Tigers, starting as a reshirted freshman. He started 7 games as a left tackle and was selected in 1990 as a freshman All-SEC. Sophomore year he was a first team All-SEC selection; junior year he was chosen second-team All-SEC and was a third-team All-American. He played three different positions sophomore year - left tackle, center and left guard. Senior year he played left tackle for all 11 games, and participated in the Blue-Gray Game and Senior Bowl. In 2007, Mawae was inducted in the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame.
In the 1994 NFL Draft, Mawae was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the second round (36th overall). Playing 14 games in his rookie season, 11 at right guard, Mawae earned first-team All-Rookie honors from Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers Association, as well as honors from College and Pro Football Newsweekly and Football News.
Mawae was signed by the New York Jets in 1998 and started all 16 games of the season. Who can forget how he helped another Ring of Honor member, Curtis Martin, rush for a franchise record eight 100-yard rushing games as Martin finished with a 1,287-yard season. Mawae helped Martin win another franchise record of 1,464 rushing yards his second year of play in 1999. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 1999, the first in a series of 8 appearances. All in all, he played an unbroken streak of 177 games but was sidelined by serious injuries to his left arm and was cut by the New York Jets in March, 2006.
He was quickly snapped up by the Tennessee Titans. Mawae helped himself to additional attention and accolades; he was voted team captain in 2007, assisted Travis Henry in going 1,211 rushing yards in the 2006 season and his tough play was instrumental in getting rookie quarterback Vince Young named AP Offensive Rookie of the year.
After 16 seasons in the NFL, Mawae retired in September of 2010.
Mawae will be surrounded by 17 other previous inductees to the Ring of Honor on Sunday, October 1st. When asked about his career with the New York Jets, he replied, "The New York Jets mean a lot to me. People asked me when I retired where do I associate myself with more and there's no doubt after eight years in New York. The highlight and apex of my career was spent here.I'm a New York Jet now and I always will be."
Spoken like a true New York Jet #68.
Victoria L. Dammer, a native of Florham Park N.J., is a dedicated, active Jets fan and season ticket holder. She never misses a chance to cheer for Gang Green. Follow Victoria on Twitter @JetsFanChatter or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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