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McKnight off to rough start

Seems like we've been here before.

Well, that's because we indeed saw a prelude to rookie RB Joe McKnight's apparent latest lack of conditioning back in rookie minicamp in May, just a week after the Jets selected Mark Sanchez's former University of Southern California teammate in the fourth round.

Without getting too graphic, let's just say that we witnessed McKnight losing his breakfast more than once during the two days we were at camp. He also got dehydrated and had leg cramps.

McKnight admitted he wasn't in great shape then and remarked how RB coach Anthony Lynn told he he needed to start acting more like a pro.

Supposedly, he had learned his lesson.

"I went home and worked on my cardio -- I did a lot of core training and running to get my wind back," McKnight told the New Orleans Times-Picayune earlier ths month. "It's helped me because a lot of papers described me as lazy and not hard-working. I'm still changing that perception of me."

Looks like he still has a ways to go, though. McKnight has been placed on the reserve/non-football injury list because he failed his conditioning test today.

McKnight wasn't known as a hard worker at USC and he's gotten way off on the wrong foot in his short time in the National Football League. Surely, the coaches aren't pleased and they'll ride McKnight hard. But don't read too much into this just yet.

Let's rewind selecta to what Rex Ryan said during rookie camp, when he was asked if he was bothered by McKnight's lack of conditioning.

"No. Just go back to last year," he said. "Remember when you guys were telling me, 'Shonn [Greene] looks terrible.' I’m like, ‘No, just play the deflection.’ Remember he couldn’t catch anything. Shonn Greene pulls up in the first special teams part of practice and I think he ended up working out really well. 

"I don’t think we need to overreact with this. He still does some great things out there. I don’t know if it’s so much his physical conditioning. It may be a bug. The thing I appreciate about him is he is trying to fight through it, albeit on a knee most of the time. But he’s fighting through it."

McKnight still counts toward the Jets 80-man training camp roster, but he'll be working with strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi, the Massapequa native and former Hofstra football player. Believe me, Sal will whip him into shape quickly. The players all talk about how he's no joke.

Once McKnight passes the conditioning test, they'll take him off the list and he can begin practicing. The first practice in Cortland is set for 8:20 a.m. Monday.


Besides McKnight's conditioning troubles, the other bit of roster news involves QB Erik Ainge. He was placed on the reserve/non-football illness list with an unspecified ailment. The Jets have five QBs with yesterday's signing of Mark Brunell, so someone has to go.

The logical candidate is Kellen Clemens because it's obvious he's not the answer there. And, remember, he had previously (in a professional way, which is why he's so well-like by his teammates) openly talked about wanting to go somewhere where he'd have a chance to play. Obviously, that's not going to happen with the Jets if Brunell was truly signed with the intent of serving as the No. 2 behind Sanchez.

So, there's sure to be more moves in the coming days, and that should include first-round pick Kyle Wilson eventually signing on the dotted line. A source told me recently that Wilson's arrival in camp on time likely wasn't going to be an issue, that things would get done.

With the signings of Patriots CB Devin McCourty (5 years, 13.2 million, $7.8 guaranteed) and Dolphins DL Jared Odrick (5 years, $13 million, $7.1 guaranteed), who are the two players, respectively, picked ahead of Wilson, it's now only a matter of time before he's signed as well.

The Jets also signed S Emmanuel Cook, who was with them in last year's camp, and waived LB Ezra Butler.

New York Sports