Jay Fiedler had a short career as an AFC East opponent of the Jets and an even shorter stay as a Jets quarterback. He’s been out of the game for seven seasons.
But Jay’s never left his Long Island base and he never stopped keeping tabs on the Jets. And he continues to teach the game to Jets fans and their kids as well as those who wear colors different than the green and white.
Fiedler’s latest endeavor in the football camp field is the Prime Time Football Offense and Defense Passing Skills Camp, which will be held on Sunday, April 28, at Randall’s Island Field No. 8, with former Jets Bobby Jackson and Bruce Harper serving as coaches. We’ll provide more details on the camp a little farther down in this blog.
“My dad, Ken, has been running summer camps for 50 years,” Fielder told me. “My brother, Scott, took over the Prime Time sports camps seven or eight years ago, and I’ve run my own Brookwood football camp for the last 15 years in Glen Spey, near Port Jervis, N.Y.
“Just these past couple of years, I’ve expanded and done a lot more year-round stuff, local clinics, quarterback/wide receiver clinics. I started talking with the people of the Yorkville Youth Athletic Association and they wanted me to come in and do something for them. So we came up with the idea of running a one-day clinic out on Randall’s Island.”
Being in the heart of the city is right up Fiedler’s alley. He grew up in Oceanside on the Island and starred as a quarterback, point guard and decathlete at Oceanside High. He stayed in the Northeast and had an outstanding Ivy League career as Dartmouth’s QB, then moved on to the pros. He actually coached receivers for a short while at Hofstra, the Jets’ former HQ, before stringing together seasons with Minnesota and Jacksonville and then a five-year stay as a starter with the Dolphins.
Jay’s Short Stay in Green
Fiedler came to the Jets as an unrestricted free agent in 2005 and made it to the third game of the regular season. That, of course, was the disastrous affair against the Jaguars, when he and Chad Pennington suffered devastating shoulder injuries within two second-half series of each other. Despite rehabbing the shoulder well enough to get consideration from several teams, he never played in the NFL after that.
“No doubt I wanted my Jets stay to be much longer,” he recalled. “Being a local guy and having the opportunity to play for the team, even as brief as it was, I still made some connections with other guys I played with and other alumni. Also, just being involved in the local football market, I’m involved with a lot of former Jets and see them at a number of events.”
Fiedler talked about his post-football pursuits, among them owning a minor-league basketball team and a concert-promotion company. These days he handles a regional market of the energy service company started by Pro Football Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas.
“As much as you hated Thurman as a Jet, he was some back,” Fiedler remembered. “Probably one of the smartest players I came across in my 10 years in the league.”
Fiedler, needless to say, has the smarts, too, to earn his degree from Dartmouth. And if you recall that school from recent Jets stories, well, yes, it’s true that he is a fellow Green Wave alumnus along with current Jets GM John Idzik.
“I didn’t know John from Dartmouth, but when I was coming out as a player, he was with the Tampa Bay organization,” he said. “My coaches put me in touch with him and he was definitely helpful throughout the process when I was being scouted, going to the combine. We weren’t in close touch but when we played against teams he was involved in, we made it a point to reach out to each other.”
And Fiedler, like many longtime fans of the Green & White, likes what Idzik has been doing in his first months on the job.
Moving in Right Direction
“For him it’s just about getting down to business, building the team from inside the locker room rather than on the sports pages,” he said. “I think they’re doing a good job of refocusing the organization and how they want the team to be run. We’ll see how it plays out over the next couple of years. There’s definitely a few holes they have to fill, but I think they’re moving in the right direction, and I’m excited to see how things progress.”
As for the progress of Fiedler’s April 28 camp, it’s designed for teaching age-appropriate fundamental passing, receiving and coverage skills and drills. Fans of all NFL teams are invited, although the staff has a Jets alumni flavor. Harper, the Jets running back from 1977-83 who easily remains the franchise’s all-time kick-return yardage leader, will coach offensive skills. Jackson, the team’s 90-game left cornerback starter from ’78-85 who was a top interceptor and a defensive team captain, will work the defensive side of the passing game.
“Bobby and I over the past couple of months have been working on some weekly clinics throughout Long Island. His son, Ashun, who was a college wide receiver, comes in and helps out along with Bobby,” Jay said. “And everyone loves Bruce from his days as a player. I’ve gotten to know him at events the past couple of years and I love the way he interacts with fans. Certainly he can teach people a great deal.”
Additionally, Fiedler has invited other former NFL players to coach and make appearances. All the former clinicians will be supported by experienced high school and youth coaches from around the area.
The afternoon schedule has been set up for three age groups. The Pee Wee Clinic for Grades 1-4 ($50 advanced registration/$60 cash only at event) will run from noon-1:30 p.m., the Youth Clinic for Grades 5-8 ($75/$90) will run from 1:30-3:30, and the High School Clinic for Grades 9-12 ($99/$120) goes from 3:30-6 p.m. Youth and high school quarterbacks can receive a video analysis of their footwork and technique for an additional fee. All participants will receive a T-shirt courtesy of Modell’s.
Tags: Ashun Jackson, Bobby Jackson, Bruce Harper, football clinic, Jay Fiedler, John Idzik
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