Offensive tackle Wayne Hunter had fallen out of favor with the New York Jets during the preseason which ultimately led to his trade to the St Louis Rams for another maligned tackle, Jason Smith. That trade was a relatively big deal for both clubs who were potentially looking at keeping a substantial chunk of salary on the bench for the majority of the season. Now Hunter is speaking out on just how he was treated in New York and it wasn’t pretty.
Everyone knows the fans in New York can be quite hostile at times, even to hometown players, and especially to hometown players who aren’t living up to expectation. During the Jets’ third preseason game, fans laid into Hunter after he gave up a fourth quarter sack and he ultimately had to be restrained by teammate Vladimir Ducasse.
It’s highly likely that this incident led Hunter to say: “They’re like sharks. If they don’t like you, they let you know right off the bat. And even if you’re doing good, they might just not like you for the heck of it. It’s brutal over there. Those fans, they know what they want, and they pretty much demand it. So if you don’t give it to them, they’ll let you know.”
The other piece of this trade, Smith, wasn’t exactly loved by the fans in St. Louis either as he had suffered so many injuries and setbacks to injuries during his career after being drafted second overall that the two sides just needed to part ways. Hunter could relate to that feeling as well saying: “I’m so happy for a fresh new start. I think it’s what I needed. I think it’s what we both needed, from what I heard.”
So now the situation is resolved for both players and each has that fresh start in a new city where they can make their own paths. St. Louis should provide a much more forgiving fan base for Wayne Hunter and the Rams believe that his veteran presence will be a welcome addition within their locker room. It seems that he is just happy to have the whole New York situation behind him and the feelings of anger off of his chest.
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