FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - Rex Ryan stepped to the podium, looked out at the cameras and opened his news conference with a warning.
“You’re not going to believe this one,” the New York Jets coach declared without any hint of a smile.
In what has been a bizarre season, the Jets‘ wacky quarterback situation took yet another twist. Greg McElroy has a concussion _ which he didn’t reveal until Thursday _ and will be replaced by Mark Sanchez as the starting quarterback in the season finale at Buffalo on Sunday.
“We’ve come to find out that Greg wasn’t exactly truthful with our training staff after the game,” said Ryan, who acknowledged he was “stunned” to hear the news. “He never disclosed that he had symptoms after the game to our trainers. Right now, he’s being evaluated for a concussion.”
McElroy, preparing to make his second NFL start in place of the benched Sanchez, was lifting weights Thursday morning and started experiencing headaches, Ryan said. McElroy went to the team’s training staff and then revealed he was suffering concussion-like symptoms after being sacked 11 times in the Jets‘ 27-17 loss to San Diego last Sunday.
“It’s another bump in the road here,” Sparano said, “and it’s something we’ve become a little accustomed to dealing with.”
Ryan was not certain exactly when McElroy suffered the concussion, but said there was no way he would play McElroy against the Bills and the third-stringer will “definitely be out.” McElroy had been listed on the injury report Wednesday with a mild abdominal strain, but was a full participant in practice and was expected to play without any issues.
“I admire his courage and everything else, but you have to be truthful and I think that’s the lesson learned here with the medical staff,” said Ryan, who spoke to the entire team about concussions after practice. “The fact he really wanted to play, I understand the competitive side of Greg and all that, but the most important thing is the health of the players.
“Obviously, I feel fortunate that something like this showed up without him going out there and putting himself in harm’s way.”
While Sanchez wouldn’t comment on whether players choosing to play through head injuries is common in the NFL, Tebow acknowledged that it probably does happen around the league because of job security.
“You fight hard to earn something and you don’t want to jeopardize that with an injury, for sure,” said Tebow, who added that he has never been in McElroy’s situation. “I think that’s definitely something guys will think about.”
Ryan chose to start Sanchez over Tim Tebow because the team has just two practices and a walkthrough to prepare before the game. He also cited Sanchez’s success against the Bills in the season opener, when he threw three touchdown passes in the Jets‘ 48-28 win.
Sanchez appeared to be on his way to a solid season, but it ended up being his best game. He was benched for the first time in his four-year career after turning over the ball five times at Tennessee on Dec. 17.