Reports that Pennington may be back this year are false. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Herman Edwards always starts his press conferences by announcing injuries, and today he went through his typical rendition. He officially stated Chad Pennington is out for Sunday’s game at the Ravens, which wasn’t news to anyone. But when he was asked about a published report that Pennington’s rotator cuff wasn’t torn, he went on the defensive.
“I’m not a doctor. I’m tired of playing Mr. Doctor,” he said.
After Pennington reinjured his shoulder Sunday, Edwards’s Monday press conference was rather morbid. He wouldn’t discuss Pennington’s injury until he got the MRI results, which was slated to be yesterday.
However, Monday night reports leaked from Jets officials confirmed Pennington would be out the rest of the season because there was another tear in the surgically-repaired rotator cuff. Pennington went to consult with Dr. James Andrews, a renowned surgeon.
Edwards is the only one permitted to discuss his players’ injuries, no one from inside the organization is allowed to publically commeent. So when asked about another report that there was no tear in Pennington’s shoulder, Edwards was adamant about his position.
“I’m supposed to come up here and answer for doctors?” he said. “All I can do is tell you the truth.”
Yet when Pennington originally hurt his shoulder against Buffalo last season, Edwards made no mention of the tear. When pressed on that issue, Edwards again dug in his heels.
“As soon as I say something it changes tomorrow and I’m up here answering again,” Edwards said. “That’s not fair to [me]. I’m telling you this: he’s out [for Sunday].
He vehemently repeated the phrase “I don’t lie” about six times, adding: “I’m in a bad situation. I’m trying to answer for everyone…I don’t lie. I can tell you that. I’m just a head coach. At this point, it’s beyond me. I’m not going down that road.”
Pennington released a statement this afternoon, saying, “After numerous tests, it is evident the off-season repair of my shoulder was not damaged and withstood the force that my shoulder experienced on Sunday. Because of this, there is no doubt I did not come back too early or rush the process of rehabilitation.”
Pennington continued: “However, it is apparent my shoulder was injured in the rotator cuff area. In my estimation, any quarterback would have experienced some type of injury to his shoulder after being put in that position. It is our medical staff’s opinion that a two-to-three week timetable will allow the dust to settle and paint a clearer picture for the near future.”
The Jets official statement, on the other hand, said Pennington had a “tear to the right rotator cuff.”
Edwards might know more, but today’s tirade, coupled with his history, showed he won’t spill the beans about Pennington anytime soon. Not citing any medical factors, Edwards said Pennington will be out for the remainder of the 2005 season.
“My opinion is yes,” he said. “I’m not counting on him to come back.”
THE BRIGHT SIDE
If there are three men reveling in the misery brought on by the Jets’ injury woes, they’re Brooks Bollinger, Vinny Testaverde and Kliff Kingsbury. And why shouldn’t they be?
Five days ago, Bollinger was a third-string quarterback with nine passes on his NFL resume. Testeverde, 41, was unemployed and the closest thing he saw to a football field was playing the Madden video game with his son. Kingsbury has never lined up under center in the pros.
Now, with Chad Pennington and Jay Fielder down for the count, they are the signal-callers for the New York Jets.
Bollinger has been named the starter at Baltimore for Sunday, with Testaverde his back up. Yet Bollinger looked in good spirits for someone going up against the premiere defense of the last decade. During warm-ups, Bollinger was smiling and carried a light air about him. It carried over to the locker room after practice.
Bollinger has been bombarded by questions and surrounded by cameras since Monday, but the third-year quarterback has been amiable with the media. When asked if he took the offensive line to dinner yet, Bollinger said he’s taking a wait-and-see approach.
“I’ll take them out after the game. We’ll see how [the game] goes,” he said with a hearty laugh.
Many of Bollinger’s friends and family still reside in his home town of Grand Folks, N.D., and his phone has been ringing nonstop, so he’s been turning it off around 2 p.m. the last three days.
“They’re coming out of the woodworks a little bit,” Bollinger said.
He even joked the people from his town will be watching the game because “yeah, they have TVs.”
On the field Bollinger said he is finally getting to the “nuts and bolts” of the offense and is immersing in the game plan, which brought him back to his days with the Wisconsin Badgers. Bollinger is one of just seven players in Big Ten history to throw for more than 30 touchdowns while amassing 20 on the ground. Not bad for a man selected in the same round of the 2003 draft (sixth) as Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Those days, to Bollinger, are long gone. He does not even think the nine throws he made last year mean much. His father, Rob, who coached him during his high school years, instilled humility in him from a young age.
“He taught me how to be a classy and good person,” Bollinger said.
You can hear it in Bollinger’s tone. Asked if he relished the grandiose nature of this opportunity, he replied, “I keep getting asked about this opportunity. If I’m not prepared then it doesn’t matter.”
Looking behind him Bollinger now sees an experienced backup in Testaverde, who is also relishing his new-found opportunity. A week ago Testaverde was coming to terms with signing a one-day contract to finish career with the Jets, and today he was trying grasp a new playbook.
“It felt like home again,” Testaverde said about his first steps onto the practice field at Hofstra. “I’m excited; I really am. It’s also given me a chance to finish my career as a Jet.”
Head coach Herm Edwards said that no matter who is under center, the Jets will have to adjust.
“We’re going to have to adapt to both of them,” he said. “It’s not like these guys have a lot of snaps in the offense.”
Whether Testaverde plays in the future depends on Bollinger’s performance this week, and as much as he won’t admit it, the spotlight is his.
“Today was a big day,” Bollinger said. “It’s only been two days but it’s felt like a lot more.”
Better enjoy it while it lasts.
Getting to Know Kliff Kingsbury. The little-known Kingsbury and Bollinger have a close history. Bollinger, selected by the Jets with the 200th pick (sixth round) in 2003, was the name called right before Kingsbury’s at 201.
Here's the Kingsbury file:
-He is 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds
-Sixth round pick from Texas Tech by New England 2003.
-Spent 2003-04 with Patriots before being released Sept. 6, 2004.
-Spent last season with Saints practice squad.
-Was in Broncos practice squad this season before being released Sept. 21.
-Fourth collegiate player to throw for more than 3,000 yards in a season three times.
-The third collegian to throw for over 10,000 yards, gain 10,000 yards in total offense, and complete 1,000 passes.
-Led Big 12 in with 3,412 passing yards in 2000.
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-QB Chad Pennington (shoulder): out
-QB Jay Fiedler (shoulder): out
-FB B.J. Askew (ankle): out
-LB Eric Barton (ankle): doubtful
-T Jason Fabini (knee): questionable
-DE Trevor Johnson (concussion): probable
-DE Shaun Ellis (knee): probable
-FB Jerald Sowell (ankle): probable
The Jets return to practice tomorrow. Be sure to check back to Jets Insider.com for all the latest NY Jets news and rumors!