Posted by Sabrina B. @gametimegirl

The debris. The wreckage. The barricades.  Members of the military baring arms. Rescue workers moving as fast as their sleep-deprived bodies could.

Vinny Testaverde, the New York Jets’ quarterback in 2001, who visited Ground Zero by himself just a few days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, aptly described the scene as “a war zone.”

“It was a little frightening to be there,” Testaverde said Tuesday during a conference call with the media as he attempted to remember the tragedy nearly a decade later. “I handed out water and other things to the rescue workers. They looked exhausted and weren’t sleeping very much. It was emotional for all of us.”

Kevin Mawae, the team’s center that year, and the rest of his teammates made their way to the site exactly a week after the atrocity was committed.

“Touring the site a week after and offering encouragement to the first responders is something that will always be ingrained in me,” Mawae said.

The Jets had just lost to the Indianapolis Colts in their season opener on Sept. 9. But just two days later, football was the last thing on their minds.

Wide receiver Wayne Chrebet, who grew up in Garfield, N.J., awoke to the news after receiving a phone call on the morning of 9/11.

“It was surreal,” said Chrebet, who turned on the television right before the second plane struck the World Trade Center. “I can’t believe that really happened and we went through all that together.”

Testaverde was receiving treatment at the team’s Long Island practice facility when punter Tom Tupa came in and told him what was happening.

“We thought at first that it was a terrible accident,” Testaverde, who grew up on Long Island, said after finding out the first plane had struck the towers. “Then another plane came at the other building. That’s when we realized something more serious had taken place. And then they told us it was a terrorist attack.”

Head coach Herm Edwards was in his office reviewing game film. From his window, he could see flight patterns of planes. But one plane’s pattern didn’t seem right to him.

“I turned the television on, and the Trade Center had some smoke coming out of it,” Edwards said. “Then I saw the second plane coming through, and I knew something was wrong.”

The husband of Chrebet’s wife’s best friend never made it out alive.

Neither did some members of Testaverde’s church. He found out a week later that one of his former high school teammates was killed as well.

“I mean, it was so close to home and we really weren’t sure what was happening,” said former general manager Terry Bradway, who like Edwards was reviewing game film when he found out what had happened. “That became our total focus. … I don’t remember a whole lot about that day, but I do remember being glued to the television.”

(Story Continues…)
WRITTEN BY Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to & FULL STORY HERE