Greg McElroy said on Monday that he feels “much better,” a week after he suffered a concussion that kept him out of yesterday’s season finale against the Bills and denied him the opportunity to further audition for 2013.
The second-year quarterback, who was named the Jets’ starter in Week 16, said the concussion symptoms he endured early last week weren’t unlike the usual feelings in the days after a game. It wasn’t until Wednesday evening, during his film study, that he realized “I didn’t feel like myself.”
“We went in to watch film and it was snowing,” said McElroy, who was sacked 11 times in his first career start on Dec. 23. “I was watching the film and watching the snowflakes go by, then [I would have to] rewind… I was trying to study and the recall and the information wasn’t as fluid. That was alarming.”
The headaches, loss of appetite and listlessness he felt earlier in the week, he said, “are normal after a game… especially after you haven’t played in a couple years.”
McElroy was 14-for-24 with 185 yards and an interception in his start against the Chargers – a 27-17 loss. He was expected to start again on Sunday, but his symptoms carried over into last Thursday, which is when the quarterback said he informed coach Rex Ryan and trainer John Melody, who determined he had a concussion. Ryan then made the decision to start quarterback Mark Sanchez, whom he had benched a week before.
“I feel much better now,” McElroy said Monday. “A couple days of rest and relaxation definitely cures an ailment.”
But it might take months before his role with the team next season is defined. McElroy was elevated from third-stringer to starter (as the coaching staff bypassed backup Tim Tebow), but it's unclear if that will matter come training camp.
“We haven’t talked about hypotheticals,” he said of the possibility of him competing for the starting job in 2013. “We haven’t talked about what’s in the future. The loss [Sunday] is still resonating with a lot of us. We haven’t worried about next year at this point.”
McElroy helped lead Alabama to a national championship, but his lack of ideal size and questions about his arm strength caused him to fall to the Jets in the seventh round of the 2011 draft. He missed all of last season with a thumb injury, but made his regular-season debut this year against the Cardinals, throwing a late touchdown and rallying the Jets to a 7-6 win.
Asked about the possible upheaval of the front office and coaching staff this offseason, McElroy said, “This is the NFL. Things change on a day-to-day basis so there’s always a level of uncertainty. Quite frankly, you don’t worry about what ifs or what might arise; you just react.” But he did say he was indebted to fired general manager Mike Tannenbaum for allowing him “to accomplish this dream of being an NFL football player.”
As for the locker room chemistry, the quality of which McElroy criticized last offseason: “This is a great group of guys,” he said. “As a member of this team, I couldn’t be more proud… I know these guys are going to go into the offseason hungry, with a chip on their shoulder.”