- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 6, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - The image on the television screen is still vividly etched in Vinny Testaverde’s mind.

The former New York Jets quarterback was in the trainer’s room on Sept. 11, 2001, and had trouble making sense of the gaping, smoke-spewing hole in one of the Twin Towers. As a guy who grew up on Long Island, Testaverde had seen the mighty and massive towers of the World Trade Center punctuate the New York City skyline all his life.

“We all thought it was a terrible accident, maybe a plane got out of control,” Testaverde recalled Tuesday.

But then punter Tom Tupa yelled over to him: “There’s another plane coming at the building!”

They were words Testaverde will never forget.

“That’s when you kind of started to realize,” he said, “that it was something more serious that was taking place.”

Herman Edwards, the Jets‘ coach at the time, was in his office at the team’s facility at Hofstra University. He had gotten there early in the morning, as he always did, and was watching film when he realized something wasn’t right.

Even though it was his first season with the Jets, he had already noticed that he could see the flight patterns from nearby airports outside his office window. The skies had been silent for at least an hour that morning.

“It was puzzling to me, so I turned the television on,” Edwards said. “I saw the Trade Center and all of the sudden you see smoke coming out of them and I saw the second plane run into it.”

That was the beginning of a series of life-changing events for members of the Jets _ and the entire country.

“It was one of those moments where you know exactly what you were doing and at exactly what time,” former center Kevin Mawae said. “It was a pretty surreal moment.”

As the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks approaches, several Jets players, coaches and executives have found themselves reflecting on what happened that day and during the weeks that followed.

“I can’t believe it happened,” former wide receiver Wayne Chrebet said. “We went through that time together and we kind of helped each other through it.”

Chrebet grew up in nearby Garfield, N.J., and later found out that the husband of one of his wife’s best friends was killed that day when one of the towers collapsed.

“To see what she went through was tough,” Chrebet said. “I know a lot of people went through that, but to have someone so close made it harder.”

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