Vinny Testaverde refused to play following terrorist attacks on Sept. 11

As a New York guy, how did you feel about moving on and playing that week?
I had expressed to my coach, my GM, my teammates that I thought it'd be in our best interest to not play that week. I actually told them if they went out to California, I think we were playing the Raiders, that I wouldn't be making that trip. That I'd stay home and be with family and friends.

Did you lose anyone close to you, know anyone affected?
Mostly friends of friends, people from our church, turns out later that week I found out that a high school teammate of mine had passed away in the towers that collapsed. I actually saw his photo on a poster honoring those firefighters and police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. And having to learn that just a few hours before kickoff was hard to swallow. Being a New York guy growing up on Long Island, just having what I'd say was a closer connection than most of the other teammates that were there at the time with me, it just hit home a little bit more being from New York.

You went to the site by yourself. What was that like?
I went down to Ground Zero (soon) after to walk around and talk with rescue workers, and you could see the sadness in their eyes and their hearts and you know, I'm getting chills just talking about it. It was a sad time, a very sad, emotional thing that a lot of people had gone through.

What role did sports play in helping people get over what had happened?
I think for more than a moment, sports — as popular as it is in our country — was part of the healing process for Americans. Certainly the Yankees, the Jets and Giants, those teams had something to do with the healing process. Although I thought it was important not to play the following week, I thought it was important to continue to do the best we could as athletes to provide some kind of entertainment or distraction, if you will.

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