Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jets' Pair Remain Apart

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jets' Pair Remain Apart

Article excerpt

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- What Wayne Chrebet wishes people understood is he doesn't care if he likes the guy in the next locker or not.

Not that he doesn't like him. Or that he does.

It's just that Chrebet -- a wide receiver for the New York Jets -- says it doesn't matter. Not a bit that he can see. Whether he likes Keyshawn Johnson, the Jets' Pro Bowl, talkative receiver, he's not saying.

He just doesn't care.

"Look around," Chrebet said this week at the Jets' facility at Hofstra University. He stood on his toes and picked a teammate at random. He chose a littleknown offensive guard.

"There you go," Chrebet said. "Jim Bundren. I'm not close to him. It doesn't mean I hate him."

Chrebet returned to the subject of Johnson.

"There are some guys you're not going to go out and have a beer with," he said as the Jets (12-4) prepared to play the Jaguars (12-5) at Giants Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands in an AFC second-round playoff game tomorrow at 12:40 p.m. "There are some guys you're not going to have pizza with. You don't like him, and you don't not like him. That's our situation."

The problem for Chrebet is Bundren is not prominent, and did not write in a book that Chrebet was the "team mascot" -- a reference Johnson made to Chrebet being popular, but not overly talented.

That inference is wrong. Both Jets receivers are as good as they are different, and both are a reason the Jets have the fourth-rated passing offense in the NFL entering the playoffs.

Johnson, the No. 1 overall draft choice in 1996 from the University of Southern California, caught a career-high 83 passes this season for 1,131 yards and 10 touchdowns, and made the Pro Bowl for the first time.

Chrebet, undrafted from Hofstra in 1995, caught 75 passes for 1,083 yards and has more receptions for more yards than any receiver taken in the 1995 draft.

"They're not the fastest group of wide receivers I've played with," Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde said recently, `but heart-wise and hands-wise, they're up there."

Few question either's talent, but in New York, all anyone ever wants to question is their relationship. …

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