Sanchez will start Jets' season finale
Rex Ryan stepped to the podium, looked out at the cameras and opened his news conference with a warning.
"You're not going to believe this one," the New York Jets coach declared without any hint of a smile.
In what has been a bizarre season, the Jets' wacky quarterback situation took yet another twist. Greg McElroy has a concussion which he didn't reveal until Thursday and will be replaced by Mark Sanchez as the starting quarterback in the season finale at Buffalo on Sunday.
"We've come to find out that Greg wasn't exactly truthful with our training staff after the game," said Ryan, who acknowledged he was "stunned" to hear the news. "He never disclosed that he had symptoms after the game to our trainers. Right now, he's being evaluated for a concussion."
McElroy, preparing to make his second NFL start in place of the benched Sanchez, was lifting weights Thursday morning and started experiencing headaches, Ryan said. McElroy went to the team's training staff and then revealed he was suffering concussion-like symptoms after being sacked 11 times in the Jets' 27-17 loss to San Diego last Sunday.
McElroy and head trainer John Mellody then went to Ryan to tell the coach the news. Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano said he was "pretty silent" when he found out a few minutes after Ryan.
Ryan chose to start Sanchez over Tim Tebow because the team has just two practices and a walkthrough to prepare before the game. He also cited Sanchez's success against the Bills in the season opener, when he threw three touchdown passes in the Jets' 48-28 win.
Sanchez appeared to be on his way to a solid season, but it ended up being his best game. He was benched for the first time in his four-year career after turning over the ball five times at Tennessee on Dec. 17.
McElroy leapfrogged Tebow on the depth chart to start against the Chargers. After finding out about McElroy's condition, Ryan spoke with both Sanchez and Tebow to tell them of his decision.
"Obviously, Tim's not happy with that, as you'd expect," Ryan said.
The news came on the heels of some tension between Ryan and Tebow last week, when the popular backup quarterback told the coach he was "disappointed" at not getting the start and wanted to play "regular quarterback."
Seahawks' Sherman wins his appeal
Even when others were suggesting he drop his case and accept his punishment, Richard Sherman never strayed from his steadfast belief that his four-game suspension would be overturned.
As unlikely as it seemed, Sherman was right.
The Seattle Seahawks will now have one of the best young cornerbacks in the NFL available for the playoffs after Sherman won his appeal of a suspension for use of performance enhancing substances on Thursday.
Gone is the lingering question about a possible suspension that hung over Sherman and the Seahawks for more than a month.
"I know what the truth is and anybody else who knows anything knows what the truth is. The truth has been told today," Sherman said on Thursday. "People can say what they want, there are always naysayers. I have great teammates and great coaches and great fans and that's all I care about."
The decision that was made by former NFL executive Bob Wallace came early Thursday morning. Sherman was called by his lawyer and simply announced in the Seahawks locker room, "I won."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an email the league is reviewing the decision, but was declining comment due to confidentiality provisions.
Sherman was steadfast since news broke of his pending suspension that he believed he would win on appeal. Sherman's appeal was based on errors in the chain of custody of his urine sample and that there were mistakes made by the tester.
Around the league
Cowboys • Nose tackle Josh Brent was driving with a suspended license and had a blood-alcohol content more than twice the legal limit at the time of the car crash that killed teammate and friend Jerry Brown, according to documents released by police. The 24-year-old Brent was tested after the crash in the early hours of Dec. 8 at 0.189 percent, well above the Texas limit of 0.08.
Panthers • A person familiar with the penalty says the NFL has fined quarterback Cam Newton $21,000 for abusive conduct toward a game official. Newton shouted at and bumped referee Jerome Boger in the fourth quarter of Carolina's penalty-plagued 17-6 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.