A week after Rex Ryan announced that he was going with third-team quarterback Greg McElroy as his starter over the man once referred to as "Sanchize" and his backup "Tebow Time," the Jets coach said that Mark Sanchez would start the season finale after McElroy suffered a concussion in last Sunday's loss to the Chargers.
McElroy didn't tell team trainers about the concussion until Thursday, and he was promptly ruled out for this week's matchup with the Bills. But according to a report, McElroy had confided in teammates earlier in the week about his injury.
"He came to my room [on Tuesday night] and we talked about it," Jets wideout Clyde Gates, who battled concussions earlier this season, told ESPNNewYork.com. "He was hurting real bad. I was like, 'Bro, I know, I've been down that road already. I'm just saying you can't try to tough it out cause you going to end up hurting yourself. You've got to let everybody know how you really feel.'"
Left guard Matt Slauson also knew that McElroy was less than 100 percent.
"He definitely has that [warrior] mentality, but it got to the point where it was scaring him," Slauson said. … "I didn't feel like it warranted [being reported]. I was in bad shape, but I could focus on my plays. I figured I'd pop a couple of aspirin and be fine."
Slauson was referring to a concussion he suffered in a previous season that he never reported to the team's medical staff.
The problem, of course, is that the league has made great strides to diagnose and treat head injuries, but it's still incumbent on the players to be honest with medical staff. With the looming fear that jobs are perpetually on the line, there will always be those who try to conceal their injuries if it means keeping their spot atop the depth chart.
Forty-niners quarterback Alex Smith knows the situation all too well. He suffered a concussion, was forced to miss a start and sat by as Colin Kaeparnick was elevated to starter.
"It probably was a little pressure," Gates said of McElroy. "I don't blame him, the position he was in, to start another game, any competitive player would've been like, 'I'm going to shake it off and make it work.' But, still, you got to be smart about it. I feel for him, though. I understand how he feels, but you can't go against a concussion injury."
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