If Nick Mangold got excited just slipping on a commemorative green jacket, imagine how he will feel seeing his name immortalized every time he goes to a Jets home game.
Mangold will be the first of three Jets inducted into the Ring of Honor this season during a halftime ceremony Sunday against the Bengals. Former teammates D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Darrelle Revis will have their individual ceremonies later in the season, as first announced by Jets owner Woody Johnson in June.
“When Woody surprised us back in the spring, I don’t think it really hit home that much,” Mangold said Wednesday at the team’s practice facility near his home. “Then we [got] the green jackets at the kickoff luncheon and that’s when it hit home, ‘Ooh, this is something big.’ It’s been a process from then until now of really coming to grips with what it means for my family and legacy. It’s really special, and something I’m excited about.”
Mangold is checking weather forecasts hoping for a “rocking” atmosphere coming off the 31-30 comeback win against the Browns that was so captivating it even managed to hold the attention of his 6-year-old “wild child.” He pre-wrote a two-minute speech for the crowd, which will include about 120 guests whom he personally invited plus others from his youth in Ohio (as a Bengals fan) who alerted him to their road-trip plans.
“Writing that out was really fun,” Mangold said. “There’s emotion in it. I didn’t go all Peyton Manning and make it hilarious. Probably not the spot. There’s a lot of people that need to be mentioned. It’s really humbling when you have that many people who will take time out of their schedules.”
Mangold started all 164 games he played over 11 seasons (2006-16), including 156 on the same line as Ferguson and 32 on the same line as Hall of Fame guard Alan Faneca — one of Mangold’s biggest on- and off-field influences and the recipient of one of his first invites.
“We had some great highs,” Mangold said. “Even though we didn’t finish it the way we wanted to, it was still a lot of fun in those runs. Even the lows, there’s always something to be taken away that was enjoyable. I wouldn’t trade my 11 years here for the world.”
The 2009 and 2010 Jets went to back-to-back AFC Championship games — the franchise’s most recent trips to the playoffs. General manager Joe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh are trying to end that drought this season.
“I like Robert — his message and the way he goes about it,” Mangold said. “In today’s day and age, everyone wants to snap your fingers and everything is fixed. The way he and Joe are trying to build this thing as a culture for the long term and not just do it for a year and start it all over back over has me excited as a now solid Jets fan. My kids are stuck in it, too.”