Former Jets and Giants punter Dave Jennings, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1996, died Wednesday morning at his home in New Jersey. He was 61.
Jennings finished his career with the Jets, playing three seasons, 1985-87. When he was done, he decided to go into broadcasting and he was a natural. He was the Jets' radio analyst from 1988 to 2001. He was a rising star in the business, smart and insightful, but Parkinson's began to take its toll.
He joined the Giants' radio booth in 2002, and it was only fitting that he finish with his forever team. He played with the Giants from 1974-84, making four Pro Bowls. He still owns some franchise records.
Former Jets teammate Marty Lyons bumped into Jennings a few years ago at the old Giants Stadium and they had lunch in the press lounge.
"My heart just broke," Lyons said Wednesday afternoon. "You saw a former teammate, a guy who was so healthy, and now he was fighting this terrible disease. All you can say is, he's in a better place now. With all the suffering he endured, fighting that disease, you've got to know that his heart is in a better place."
Jennings was a true gentleman. He grew up in Garden City, L.I., and got a chance to live out his dream, playing for both local teams. He was a great listen on the radio, possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of the rule book. And he never thought he was too big to sit down and talk football with a young football beat writer. He'll be missed.