The strange twists and turns of the Jets’ season continued on Thursday as Greg McElroy was ruled out of this weekend’s game with a concussion, suffered in the Jets’ 27-17 loss to the Chargers in Week 16. With McElroy concussed, head coach Rex Ryan named Mark Sanchez the starter this Sunday in Buffalo.
McElroy suffered the concussion during the Jets’ last game, but according to Ryan showed no concussion symptoms and finished out a loss where he was sacked 11 times. After complaining of headaches during his Thursday morning workout, McElroy and head trainer John Melody approached Ryan to tell him of the diagnosis.
McElroy wore a towel over his head during the meeting with his head coach.
“I was stunned by it. Look, I admire his courage and everything else but you have to be truthful and I think that’s a lesson learned here — with the medical staff,” Ryan said. “The fact that he really wanted to play, I understand the competitive side of Greg here, but the most important thing is the health of the player.”
On Wednesday, McElroy practiced in full despite an abdomen injury and he was expected to start on Sunday. In his first NFL start against the Chargers, McElroy was 14-of-24 for 185 yards with an interception and a fumble lost. His performance was relatively solid despite a porous offensive line.
McElroy decided to finally come clean about the injury after feeling a headache. Ryan said, “That’s when he was truthful with our training staff.”
Clearly factoring into McElroy’s decision to remain mum on the concussion was the opportunity to start and stake a claim to the starting role heading into next season.
“In Greg’s situation, he was a third-string quarterback given the opportunity to compete as a starting quarterback. I can understand you want that opportunity,” Ryan said. “Again, the health of each player in this league should be the most important thing.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.