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McElroy has concussion, Sanchez to start for Jets

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 27, 2012 at 4:48 pm •  Published: December 27, 2012

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.

"I'm excited to play, obviously," Sanchez said. "You just never want to see something like that happen to a teammate, somebody I really respect. You feel for Greg and I'll be ready to play."

Sanchez was a bit surprised when Ryan told him he'd be starting because he thought McElroy just wasn't feeling well.

"I guess I didn't expect it," Sanchez said. "I wasn't coming into today thinking he had a concussion. I never would've known."

McElroy leapfrogged Tebow on the depth chart to start against the Chargers. After finding out about McElroy's condition, Ryan spoke with both Sanchez and Tebow to tell them of his decision.

"Obviously, Tim's not happy with that, as you'd expect," Ryan said.

The news came on the heels of some tension between Ryan and Tebow last week, when the popular backup quarterback told the coach he was "disappointed" at not getting the start and wanted to play "regular quarterback." ESPN New York first reported Sunday that Tebow asked out of the wildcat, and a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed that to The Associated Press. The two met again last Friday to clear the air, and Tebow reiterated that he was willing to do anything the team asked him to do.

Tebow insisted Wednesday that he did not refuse to do anything and acknowledged that Ryan might have misinterpreted what he said. Ryan said he understands that Tebow is frustrated at the situation and by not starting, but again would not disclose anything said between the two in their conversations last week.

Tebow said he didn't think Ryan's choice to play Sanchez was in any way punitive, and added that he and the coach have a "great" relationship.

"When you're a competitor, you want to play," Tebow said. "But I understood his decision and I just let him know, just like always, that I'll do whatever I can to help the team."

Tebow will be the No. 2 quarterback on Sunday at Buffalo, and could play — but it won't be as the starter.

"Obviously, he'd like a shot at it," Ryan said, "but with the situation the way it is, it's a short window, really, to get the preparation time in and I just think it's best for our football team."

With the way the season has played out, from the quarterback controversies to the injuries suffered by key players, Ryan was asked if this is the strangest year he has ever experienced in the NFL.

"Yeah, I would say that's pretty accurate," Ryan said, laughing. "And, we've had some strange ones."

Added Tebow, chuckling: "It's been interesting."


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