By BARRY WILNER AP Football Writer

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) . Firefighter Sterling Alves moonlights as a football coach for a very special team made up of his peers. On Saturday night, he'll work the sidelines with the New York Jets . and even get to call a play.

Alves already warned Jets coach Herman Edwards that he'll be ordering up a blitz against the New York Giants.

The Jets, who've had a strong involvement with New York area firemen since Sept. 11, invited the coach of the FDNY football team to act as an associate coach against their local rivals and NYPD football coach Pete Moog.

For Alves, it will be a bittersweet moment: 21 members of the FDNY squad, many of them Jets fans, died during the rescue efforts at the World Trade Center.

"It's still an open wound, not only for the fire department's football team, but the FDNY as a whole,'' Alves said Tuesday. "We dedicated our entire season to them, but it has been very difficult to deal with as a whole.''

Alves, 50, is a 23-year veteran firefighter who works with Squad 252 in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. He also played defensive back, running back and wide receiver for the FDNY team before turning to coaching.

He said football means a great deal to New York firefighters . the Jets' unofficial cheerleader is "Fireman'' Ed Anzalone, who works as a firefighter in Harlem and riles up the crowd from a fieldside seat for home games.

"I think more firefighters are Jets fans than Giants fans,'' Alves said. "In my firehouse, I know that is true.''

Alves' unit arrived at the Twin Towers just after the first building collapsed.

After Sept. 11, the Jets made weekly appearances at fire stations throughout the metropolitan area. Their "Twin Towers Tuesdays'' program featured players visiting firehouses and command centers every Tuesday, which is their off day most weeks during the season. The players held barbecues for firefighters and their families, signed autographs and handed out souvenirs.

Alves hinted he would present Edwards with a white fire chief's helmet. In turn, the Jets' coach said he'd consider putting it on.

"I might wear it on the sidelines . to protect me,'' Edwards said.

Moog, a detective, will work in the same capacity for the Giants. Moog, 42, a 21-year police veteran, coached his team to a 10-0 victory over the FDNY squad on May 19 at Giants Stadium.

He also will be calling a play.

"I'll have him diagram his favorite play, we'll name it and we'll call it,'' Giants coach Jim Fassel said.

Conducting the coin toss before the game with be Joe Morris, chief of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Moog is with the NYPD Technical Assistance and Response Unit. He played for the police team for six years and has coached it for 15. Moog also played at Southern Connecticut State and Seminole Junior College.

Moog was at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.

"I was one of the lucky ones. I got out of the South Tower and just left the buidling when it fell,'' he said.

But he also got trapped with 24 other officers against the outside window of 2 World Financial Center across the street from the collapsed tower.

"The 25 of us were suffocating,'' Moog said. "We all owe our lives to Lt. Timmy McGinn. He was closest to the window, and he blew out the window with his gun, because it just wouldn't break.

"Then we all climbed into the building.''