Bruce Harper (born June 20, 1955) was an American football running back and kick returner for the New York Jets of the NFL. He was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Kutztown by the Jets in 1977. Bruce Harper is the all-time kick returner in New York Jets history with 5407 yards in kickoff returns. He also served as the Jets punt returner from 1977 to 1982, totalling 1748 PR yards and 1 touchdown. Harper also played running back. His total yards are 11429: 1829 rushing yards, 2409 receiving yards, 1784 PR yards and 5407 KR yards.
Harper played high school football at Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood. He moved on to play at Kutztown State College, where he became the school's first 1,000 yard rusher.
Harper's 42 jersey is the jersey worn by diehard Jets fan (and leader of the J-E-T-S chant) Fireman Ed.
Harper was a longtime resident of Norwood, New Jersey, but now lives in Closter, New Jersey.
Harper is founder and director of the non-for-profit organization Heroes & Cool Kids. Based in school systems throughout New Jersey, the mentoring program reaches out to elementary and middle-school kids by high school athletes and students of the same district. The high school students are trained through the Heroes and Cool Kids' curriculum and by former professional athletes, such as former NFL player, Keith Elias, former LA Lakers player, John Celestand, and former NJ Nets player, Tim Bassett.
- ^ a b Rondinaro, Gene. "Picturesque, Affluent West of Palisades", The New York Times, November 3, 1996. Accessed July 26, 2011. "A SHORT distance west of the Palisades and bordering the Boy Scouts' Camp Alpine is the picturesque and affluent Bergen County Borough of Norwood, just 10 miles northwest of the George Washington Bridge.... A FORMER football standout at Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, Mr. Harper was interested in finding a small, diverse community to live and raise a family in away from the media hype of New York's sports world.... Like Mr. Harper, other sports figures such as Don Mattingly, Gene Michael, Craig Nettles, Jim (Catfish) Hunter and Kenny Anderson have at one time or another called the borough home."
- ^ Anderson, Dave. "Sports of The Times; Empty Seats, No Noise, But Look Who's Talking", The New York Times, November 24, 2003. Accessed July 26, 2011. "You got that right, especially with the way the Giants and the Jets have played this season, but the Jets were even worse than usual this game. And their fans were so quiet. Fireman Ed in the white fireman's helmet and the Bruce Harper 42 jersey didn't even yell 'J-E-T-S -- Jets, Jets, Jets!' until the fourth quarter was about the start."
- ^ a b Spelling, Ian. "Hero Worship: Former Jets star Bruce Harper inspires sportsmanship and good character", (201) magazine, August 1, 2009. Accessed July 26, 2011. "Likewise, Harper is a Bergen lifer. He was born in Englewood, lived for a time in Fort Lee, bought a house in Englewood, moved to Norwood, and currently resides in Closter with his wife, Nancy."
By Dean Hanley
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