FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Brandon Moore was known as the guy who always kept his composure, even in the most emotional of moments, but the former Jets offensive guard didn’t even get through the first few sentences of his retirement news conference without needing to pause.
“For a guy that was undrafted and came in through the back door to be escorted out the front door at the end of your career is a great accomplishment,” Moore started, and then he needed a moment.
Among the reporters in the room sat Moore’s wife and coach Rex Ryan, who watched with red eyes.
“Some of my best years were here playing for Rex,” Moore said. “All you want to do is win. We didn’t quite finish it but we were going to die trying. I just want to tell him, 'Thank you.'”
The Jets brought Moore back to the facility to formally retire. Moore spent the day with his old teammates, and Ryan took a moment after practice to tell his current team just what Moore meant to the team.
“In my opinion he’ll go down as the best guard in the history of the Jet franchise,” Ryan said.
Moore played right guard for the Jets for 10 years, He was signed by the team as an undrafted free agent in 2002 and had a streak of 142 straight starts at one point. The Jets decided not to bring him back after last season. During the offseason, he briefly agreed to play for Dallas before deciding he didn’t want to keep playing.
“I just wasn’t willing to commit all the things that go into being the Brandon Moore, the player I thought I was in my head,” Moore said. “That means film, working out, pills, treatment, stretching, doctors, surgeries, offseason, all those things. There was no point in doing it. The game deserves more respect than that.”
He’s had a few offers from teams since, he said, but isn’t interested.
“I’m done, I’ve lost a few pounds I couldn’t play anyway,” Moore said.
The 6-foot-3 Moore was listed at 305 pounds when he played for the Jets, and he has worked to lose weight since he stopped playing.
“You see some guys who have put on weight and they’re not healthy,” Moore said. “You don’t see a lot of 70-plus-year-old 300-plus-pound men walking around. I remember Pete Kendall used to say that all the time, and I used to laugh then, but you need to lead a decent life -- a healthy, comfortable life. You need to get the weight down and that’s something I’m trying to do.”
Austin Howard stood in the back of the room as Moore spoke. Earlier, Howard told ESPNNewYork.com that Moore had taught him how to prepare and maintain his health for the duration of a 16-game season during the one season they played together on the line.
“At that time it was my third year in the league, but that one year being with him, I learned more in that one year with him than I had in my entire three years,” Howard said.
“Brandon was a great teammate,” wide receiver Jeremy Kerley said. “He was everything you look for in an older guy coming into the league. You look at him like, ‘OK, when I’m a vet that’s how I want to conduct myself.”
Willie Colon, who didn’t play with Moore but said he has learned how much Moore meant to Nick Mangold and the other longtime linemen, said it’s extremely unusual for a player to be with one team for an entire 10-year career.
“It speaks volumes about the love he had for the organization and the organization respected him and his loyalty,” Colon said.
Moore said he wakes up without pain, a blessing after a career so long, and has made it to a few games this season. He said he had the time of his life and loved being a Jet.
“Now that I’m done playing, I root for the Jets even more than I did when I was running out the tunnel Sundays,” Moore said.