New York Jets superfan "Fireman Ed" Anzalone is hanging up his fireman's hat.
The New York City firefighter, who rose to popularity leading crowds at home games in the "J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets" chant, said he will continue to attend games, but just as a fan.
Anzalone said he is retiring his "Fireman Ed" persona because of increasing confrontations with other Jets fans.
"I decided to leave Thursday because the confrontations with other Jets fans have become more common, even though most Jets fans are fantastic," he wrote in a guest column on the Web site metro.us/newyork.
"Although I can 'hold my own, I do not want to lose my temper and make a stupid mistake. I have a responsibility to the families and kids that enjoy the game and Fireman Ed."
Jets coach Rex Ryan said he was saddened by the news during his Monday press conference.
"I'm disappointed [he's stepping down] because I love that guy's energy and passion that he would bring," said Ryan. "He's a great fan. I really admire him. He was great. But if we do our job on the field, that Jets chant will continue. I appreciate Fireman Ed."
When a reporter said to Ryan, "You seem a little shaken up by Fireman Ed's resignation...," Ryan responded by saying, "I like Fireman Ed. If he could play linebacker or whatever, I'd use him."
Anzalone bolted Met Life Stadium with the Jets trailing 35-3 at halftime of Thursday night’s debacle against New England. The Patriots defeated the Jets 49-19.
But Anzalone says he's a Jets fan for life.
"I will always love the Jets because they are in my heart," he wrote, "and I will attend games as usual, just not as Fireman Ed. God bless and, as always, let’s go Jets!"
Anzalone also has deactivated his Twitter account.
His absence from Twitter prompted former Jets’ nose tackle and current NFL analyst Kris Jenkins to speculate whether Anzalone has switched allegiances.
"Fireman Ed deleted his account?" Jenkins tweeted. "Wow thought he was a diehard fan? Guess he went back to the Dolphins."
A Jets fan since the mid 1970s, Anzalone was a Dolphins fan while growing up in College Point, N.Y.
Anzalone lost his temper in 2010 when he was charged with assaulting a Giants fan who interrupted his chant at a Jets' preseason game. The charges were later dropped.