Joe McKnight helped off field before tweeting angrily to fan
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CORTLAND, N.Y. - Joe McKnight's bizarre training camp saga took an even stranger turn Monday.
A day after the Jets running back/kick returner blew off questions about his head injury and recent arrest, he had to be helped off the field by trainers and later was carted away wearing an oxygen mask.
McKnight, who has been nursing a head injury for more than a week, barely made it to the practice field Monday. He stopped several times and bent down on one knee -- in Tebow-esque fashion -- and when he got closer to the field, he leaned over a garbage can as if he were vomiting.
McKnight, who wore a red non-contact jersey for the second straight day, lasted only 45 minutes in practice.
He went down, untouched, near the end zone during a 1-on-1 passing drill and had to be helped to his feet. With trainers on each side, he slowly walked to the injury tent and was checked out by head trainer John Mellody. McKnight then was given oxygen before being driven to the locker room.
But his peculiar day didn't end there. Shortly after being carted off, he took to Twitter to vent his frustration -- with the media.
McKnight saw a derisive tweet from a Jets fan -- "@Joejetlife about time you get released. Good luck. And stay healthy" -- and mistakenly thought it was written by a reporter.
"Now I'm trying to keep my cool but now it has gone too far with these reporters," McKnight fired back on the social media network. "Just let y'all know I'm not the one. I know who you are.''
McKnight later replied to the fan: "are you outside''?
(A Jets spokesman later confirmed the tweets were, in fact, sent by McKnight.)
McKnight emerged from the locker room at the tail end of practice, wearing a T-shirt, shorts and sunglasses. Although he did not stop to answer questions on his way back from the practice field, he was heard saying he had a migraine.
The Jets have yet to characterize McKnight's injury as a concussion, and Rex Ryan again offered no specifics.
"I saw Joe go down. I know it's hard to believe, but I saw him," Ryan said. "There was no contact. He fell down . . . For whatever reason, he stopped."
When told McKnight had struggled to reach the practice field, Ryan insisted he and the training staff would "never, ever" put a player at risk.
McKnight generated headlines in 2010 when he threw up on his first day of NFL training camp. Since then, the former fourth-round pick from USC has had a string of camp injuries and issues. Last season, he missed practice because of food poisoning (which he blamed on a Cortland restaurant); he failed his conditioning test the day the Jets reported to camp this summer (although Ryan blamed it on McKnight's test-taking "anxiety"); he also missed practice with dehydration this summer, was arrested for outstanding traffic violations on a team day off, then suffered a head injury shortly thereafter.
Ryan conceded "situations happen" and "there's nobody that's perfect," but he did stress that McKnight's durability is an issue.
"From a reliability standpoint, durability is a big thing in this league. Has Joe had his moments here? Absolutely he has," Ryan said of McKnight, who averaged 6 yards on 30 rushing attempts last year and was among the league leaders in kickoff-return average (31.6 yards) in 2011.
"When he's healthy, Joe can be a good contributor for our football team. But right now, we've just got to get him healthy."