Rex Ryan on activating Jets backup QB Tim Tebow vs Patriots: 'People have played with cracked ribs.'
By Manish Mehta
November 23, 2012 11:26 AM
Rex Ryan maintained that it took 10 days for the Jets to find out that Tim Tebow suffered cracked ribs.
The Jets coach admitted in a conference call on Friday morning that he learned that his backup quarterback broke two ribs the day before the Jets’ 49-19 loss to the Patriots. Tebow experienced discomfort on Monday, which prompted the team's medical staff to take a MRI on Tuesday. So, nine days elapsed from the time that Tebow said he was hurt in a 28-7 loss in Seattle and the exact diagnosis was revealed. Ryan said that he didn't find out about the cracked ribs until Wednesday.
Ryan offered a curious explanation as to why decided to activate Tebow for the Patriots game. Tebow didn’t take a snap on offense or special teams in the blowout loss to the AFC East division rivals.
“I know Tim was cleared to play that game,” Ryan said. “He wanted to play… Obviously, if he was not cleared to play or if they thought he was in serious jeopardy to himself, then he never would have been activated. He never would have been cleared to play. Tim was cleared to play. He wanted to play. And that’s just the way it is.”
Ryan also said that he made it clear to special teams coach Mike Westhoff and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano that he didn’t want them to use Tebow unless it was an emergency.
“People have played with cracked ribs,” Ryan said. “It was told to me that he could play. But I wasn’t going to play him unless it was an absolute emergency. … It was never told to me that he could not play. It was just the opposite… that he could play. It was me that said, “No I’m not going to play him unless we absolutely have to. Tim came to me. He’s like, ‘I can play. I want to play.’”
“Again, it was something that I went in and absolutely said, ‘Hey, listen, I don’t want you to play him.’ I told that to Westhoff. I told that to Tony (Sparano). He was cleared to play, but I was not going to do it. I did not feel comfortable doing it. That’s the truth.”
So, why didn’t activate third-string quarterback Greg McElroy? He said that “we’ll see how the week progresses” to determine whether McElroy will be active vs the Cardinals next week.
“That’s something that I considered,” Ryan said about activating McElroy against the Patriots, “But like I said, (Tebow was) cleared to play. And you’re facing an opponent – it’s obviously the biggest game of the year. And Tim’s like ‘Hey I can play. I want to play.’ And he’s cleared to play. When you factor those things in, it’s like Hey, if we absolutely 100 percent had to have him, then I would have played him.”
“I’m not a doctor... but I’m a human,” Ryan added. “And that’s why I felt for him, but it was to the point where when the doctors are telling you he can play, the young man’s telling you he can play and knowing he was going to be in the role he was as the backup quarterback – he got reps the entire week – that was why I had him active.”
Ryan said a few times during the call that nobody knew the exact nature of Tebow’s injury until Wednesday.
“We knew he had sore ribs or whatever—but I don’t think anybody – not Tim or anybody else – knew the extent. When we looked into it further, that’s when we found out he had the cracked the ribs.”
“Now understand this – players can play with cracked ribs,” Ryan added. “A lot of them will take (pain killing) shots – numb it. I absolutely did not want us to do that…. He could have protected himself. And he could have played in that game. He absolutely 100 percent could have played in that game."
Fun thought experiment: try to diagram Rex's argument here.
1. Tebow was cleared to play and wanted to play
2. But Rex told Sparano and Westhoff not to use him except in an emergency
3. And he didn't activate McElroy because Tebow was cleared to play and wanted to play, and it's obviously the biggest game of the year
4. Anyway, Rex isn't a doctor, he's a human
5. The doctors said Tebow could play and Tebow himself said he could play and he got reps the entire week
6. Oh, and btw, no one knew his ribs were broken until Wednesday
7. Guys, players can play with cracked ribs
8. But there was no way Rex was going to make Tebow do that
9. But just FYI, he absolutely 100 percent could have
We all on the same page?