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Saturday, September 10, 2011
Kennedy: NYC 'hasn't been the same'

By Ian Begley

Jimmy Kennedy had just finished an early morning workout at Penn State when the first plane struck the north tower of the World Trade Center.

His thoughts turned immediately to home.

A Yonkers native, some of Kennedy's extended family worked in New York City, including an aunt in Times Square and a grandfather in the Empire State Building.

So when the second plane hit shortly after 9 a.m., Kennedy "went into a panic."

"My whole family's up there so instantly I got nervous, I jumped in my truck and I was like, 'Man, I need to get home to my family and make sure everything is cool," Kennedy recalled earlier this week.

He got as far as northern New Jersey before being forced to turn around by officials who had barred cars from entering the city after the attacks.

So Kennedy headed back to Happy Valley, flush with the uncertainty surrounding his loved ones. He called his family repeatedly but, like most others trying to get in touch with anyone in the city, he couldn't get through.

"I just kept getting busy signals," he said.

Eventually, Kennedy found out his family was unharmed. But others he grew up with weren't as fortunate.

Some of Kennedy's friends and neighbors lost loved ones that day.

"My heart goes out to them," he said. "I think New York hasn't been the same since."

Kennedy signed with the Giants in the offseason and the nine-year veteran is chomping at the bit to make his debut with his hometown team on Sunday.

But, before he takes the field, Kennedy's mind will undoubtedly wander to the events of September 11, 2001 and how they affected those around him.

"You're going to get that sadness, because this is my hometown," the defensive lineman said of taking the field on the tenth anniversary of the attacks. "You're going to have your focus once you put your hand in the dirt [on Sunday]. But prior to putting your hand in the dirt, everything's going to remind you of 9/11, as it should."