Pennington 'full go' for Jets camp
BY KEN BERGER
Newsday Staff Writer
May 12, 2006
Optimistic and confident as ever, Chad Pennington proclaimed last night that he is "full go" in his comeback from a second shoulder operation in as many years and is digging in to fight for his starting job in training camp -- maybe even sooner.
"Full go means I'm throwing every route we have in the playbook," the Jets quarterback said last night at a fundraiser in Manhattan. "I feel really good about it."
It was the first update on Pennington's progress since the first week of March, when he restructured his contract and began strengthening his surgically repaired right rotator cuff.
Pennington said he's still working on building up strength and velocity, but said, "I don't have any doubts or concerns or worries ... I'm not trying to get back to the old Chad Pennington. I'm trying to get better than what the old Chad Pennington was."
Pennington and other veterans won't participate in the two-day rookie minicamp that opens today at Hofstra. But he sounded optimistic that he will be ready for team drills when the Jets hold a passing camp at the end of the month and a full-squad minicamp in mid-June.
"Whatever the coaches, and more importantly the doctors, have laid out for me, I'll follow those guidelines," Pennington said. "I don't know what those guidelines are yet."
Pennington's recovery schedule is far more favorable than last year, when he was rushed back to start in the season opener only 31 weeks after the first operation on his right rotator cuff. Yesterday was the 31-week mark after the latest operation, which was performed Oct. 6.
Admitting for the first time that he was rushed back last year, Pennington said, "I had to fly by the seat of my pants to try to go win a football game."
Pennington said he plans to play at his current weight of 229, about 10 pounds heavier than before. He wasn't fazed by the Jets' decision to pass on Matt Leinart in the draft, or their decision to select Oregon quarterback Kellen Clemens in the second round. He said he's ready to compete with Patrick Ramsey for the starting job.
"I want to be in those plans, those future plans," he said. "If I am, I'm going to take advantage of every opportunity I get. If I'm not, that's OK. There's 31 other teams.
"If I was a betting man in Vegas," he added, "I'd put money on No. 10."