Brandon Moore was always the model of calm and purposefulness in the New York Jets locker room, but the former Pro Bowl guard looked even more serene than usual as he strolled the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center today.
"You don't realize how wound up this profession makes you," said Moore, who was just introduced to reporters here by Rex Ryan as a newly retired O-lineman. "You're worried about performing so well, consistently, with all the preparation and time that goes into it, what that does to your mental, your physical, your emotional.
"I feel like a chapter has closed," he told me. "I don't like saying 'retiring.' I like saying I just don't play football anymore. But I'm just excited about whatever the next step is. Heck, I didn't know putting my hand in the dirt as a 13-year-old would bring me right here."
Moore spent his entire 10-year pro playing career as our fixture at right guard, playing in two AFC Championship Games in 2009 and '10 and in his only Pro Bowl after the '11 season, before leaving after last season.
He got the heroes' tour today. He spent time with my partner, Eric Allen, on Jets TV, with our social networking department, with director of player development Dave Szott — a former Pro Bowl guard himself — at lunch, and with Rex during today's final practice before we take on New Orleans on Sunday.
And Brandon Moore's weekend will continue before the Saints game as he serves as the Jets' "pilot," leading the team along Jets Runway into MetLife Stadium prior to warmups and serving as our honorary captain at the opening coin toss.
"In my opinion, Brandon will go down as the best guard in the history of the Jets," Ryan said at the top of today's news conference, "and if not, he'd certainly be in that conversation.