NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There has been a lot of "out with the new and in with the old" with the Jets this offseason.
So it would seem "Fireman" Ed Anzalone somehow finding his way back to MetLife Stadium to lead the J-E-T-S chant during the 2015 season would only be appropriate.
The walks down memory lane during free agency have changed both the perception and reality of the Jets' defense. By deciding to bring back old friends Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to the tune of $102 million the Jets righted what many fans thought were a pair of wrongs committed by the previous front office.
Now, it looks as though Anzalone is considering a comeback of sorts, because Jets fans are making it clear they never wanted him to leave in the first place.
"I don't know. I told you the way I feel. Will I come back? I'd rather see someone else make that thing happen then me come back. I'd rather see them give a young guy a fair chance. If that thing needed my help, I'd help," Anzalone recently told Kristian Dyer of Metro New York. "If they needed my help I would try to help them in any way I can."
Anzalone was being interviewed because a website called BringEdBack.com, the same people who brought you FireJohnIdzik.com and Knicks4Sale.com, has posted a petition requesting Anzalone again don the Bruce Harper No. 42 jersey and jump back up on his buddy's shoulders in section 123.
The petition had nearly 2,500 signatures as of Monday afternoon.
"The fans will ultimately decide what is going on, not me ... If I can help out in any way, if I can help out to make that experience what it used to be, I'd never turn my back on the Jets or the fans," Anzalone said. "I can't live forever. Even if I came back for a short period of time, someone has to take over. I'm double-nickel, I'm 55 years old. They need a young guy in there, there are plenty of guys willing to do it but the Jets need to help them do it the right way."
Anzalone stepped away from his duties as the unofficial super fan of the Jets after he reportedly received threats and harassment during the 2012 season, culminating in him leaving MetLife Stadium during the infamous "Buttfumble" game against the Patriots.
"That was just one of many times during the years that we lost and got crushed. There were a lot of circumstances," Anzalone said. "When you go into the bathroom and get accosted, it might be time to go. That time, I couldn't say it but now I can. When it comes to the point that you have to worry about your family, your well-being, it might be the time to move on. That's the reality of it."
The Jets tried to fill the void left by Anzalone's absence with a marching band and a fan contest in attempts to revive the chant, which is a staple recognized across the NFL.
But at the end of the day, nothing has been able to replace the work of one man.
"I'm honored, people want you back," Anzalone said. "It's an emotional thing, no doubt about it. My love for that team will never die. I never will quit on that team. I won't quit on this team I love. I stopped being Fireman Ed. That was my choice. I started Fireman Ed and I ended Fireman Ed. That was my choice.
"My love has never stopped."
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