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Fireman Ed quits as New York Jets' unofficial mascot

Fireman Ed is no more at New York Jets games.

In a guest column for Metro New York, Fireman Ed -- real name: Ed Anzalone -- explained that confrontations with fans at MetLife Stadium, not the Jets' epic struggles during a blowout loss to the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving night, led to his premature exit from his section.

Anzalone said barbs from unruly fans have become a common occurence, with many people under the mistaken impression that he's on the Jets' payroll. Because of this, he no longer will attend Jets games as Fireman Ed.

"Listen, I went through the Rich Kotite era -- we were 4-28 in that era. Any Jets fan knows this isn't the worst of times; it isn't close," Anzalone told Metro, making a fair point. "It's been about the nastiness. I just think society in general -- you're out in your car, there's no respect at all. I don't want to put up with that from people taking it out on me anymore."

Anzalone said he'll continue to attend Jets home games, but he plans to move to a different section and retire the Fireman Ed persona. For decades, Anzalone has led the famous "J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets" chant at the Meadowlands.

"I'm sure there will be somebody else that takes over," he said. "I wasn't the originator of the chant and I won't be the last one. It's got to end."

Anzalone said he hadn't informed the Jets of his decision.

"I'm not on their payroll," Anzalone said. "I don't owe the Jets anything."

As someone who has attended many a Jets game at the Meadowlands, I can confirm home-team ineptitude, coupled with frothy fermented beverages, can create a rough edge in the crowd. I'm sure Anzalone eventually will don the fireman's hat again, but for now, consider this another ridiculous subplot in another lost Jets season.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.

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