Tag:Erik Ainge
Posted on: January 5, 2012 10:01 am

McElroy: Jets locker room 'not a fun place to be'


By Josh Katzowitz

Despite all assurances that coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum will get it all figured out, the Jets flamed out in quite a spectacular way in the second half of the season.

If it wasn’t Santonio Holmes figuratively urinating on the Captain’s C stitched on his jersey, it was Bart Scott flipping off a photographer. If it wasn’t the constant debate about whether offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer should be fired, it was a constant argument about whether Mark Sanchez should be disowned as the team’s quarterback of the future.

Jets in turmoil
It was, to say the least, an uncomfortable locker room experience, according to quarterback Greg McElroy.

“It’s definitely not a fun place to be,” McElroy told an Alabama radio station on Wednesday, via the NY Daily News. “I can assure you.”

McElory was placed on Injured Reserve with a thumb injury, but that didn’t stop him from experiencing the unpredictability of a locker room in turmoil. Ryan said Monday that the team chemistry was off this season and that he needed to fix it (surely bringing back Holmes for another season will hinder that goal, eh?).

But maybe it’s more than just chemistry that needs to be fixed.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever been around extremely selfish individuals,” McElory said. “I think that’s maybe the nature of the NFL. But there were people within our locker room that didn’t care whether we won or [lost]… as long as they got their… they really had a good game individually. And that’s the disappointing thing.

"It’s going to take a lot to kind of come together next year. I think the fact that we struggled at times this year really led to a really corrupt mindset within the locker room. But I think we’re going to regroup and I know that we’ll be a better team because of the trials and tribulations this year.”

Former Jets quarterback Erik Ainge didn’t appreciate McElroy’s candor apparently. Tweeted Ainge: “Someone tell McElroy to keep his mouth shut about the NYJ ‘Locker Room’ speaking in the media about your teammates, entitled brat!”

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Posted on: June 24, 2011 8:52 am
Edited on: June 24, 2011 2:52 pm

Erik Ainge says he's retiring from football

AingePosted by Josh Katzowitz

Jets QB Erik Ainge has had a big struggle ever since emerging from the University of Tennessee. He’s had plenty of arm and shoulder struggles during his pro career, but even worse than that, Ainge was a drug addict* who battled bi-polar disorder.

*It got so bad for Ainge that he said, compared to him, Charlie Sheen was as hard-core as Miss Daisy.

All of it became too much. That’s why Ainge, who missed all of last season to get help with his addictions, told the Associated Press that he’s retiring from football. Ainge said he’s been sober for nearly a year but that his body just won’t allow him to play (he had surgery to repair a stress fracture in January and he recently tweeted that he had a torn rotator cuff).

“This isn’t the step I wanted, but it’s the hand I’m dealt,” Ainge told the AP. “There’s nothing I’d love more than to come back to New Jersey when the lockout’s over and compete for a job and be around those guys and their families. I miss them as people, but it’s just not in the cards physically right now.

“I don’t know exactly when it happened with my shoulder because I’ve been battling shoulder problems for a long time, but now that I’m not in NFL-playing shape – I’m in good shape, but not NFL shape – my shoulder started really telling me how bad it was. One of the things I’ve been working on in my recovery is acceptance, and to be honest, I need to accept that I want to be able to play baseball with my kids when I’m 35. I don’t want to be limping the rest of my life.”

Ainge insists he loves football, but he loves his body more. He can’t lift a 10-pound weight with his throwing arm, and he knows that fact will hinder him if he were to compete for a job that requires him to, um, throw the ball.

Plus, Ainge would have had a tough time making the Jets roster this season with five quarterbacks (Mark Sanchez, Mark Brunell, Kevin O’Connell, Drew Willy and Greg McElroy) already on the roster.

Ainge, though, says he’ll leave football without any regrets and that the most important thing in his life is staying sober.

“I don’t have to come back and be a Pro Bowler to be a success story,” he said. “If I stay sober and I move on with my life and I’m successful, that’s the success story.”

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Posted on: March 29, 2011 6:03 pm

Erik Ainge's harrowing tale of addiction

E. Ainge tells an interesting tale of his drug addiction (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We broke this out already in today’s edition of Hot Routes, but I didn’t want you to miss some of the stunning revelations in Rich Cimini’s piece (on ESPN New York) on Jets backup QB Erik Ainge, who’s battling addiction and bi-polar disorder.

Currently, Ainge – who missed all of last season after checking into a rehab facility – has been sober since July 17, the longest stretch of a chemical-free body since the age of 11 (!).

The article is written in the words of Ainge, and he makes some compelling statements.

For instance: “My addiction is with the hardest of hard drugs -- heroin, cocaine and alcohol. During my days of using, I was a really bad drug addict. I would've made Charlie Sheen look like Miss Daisy.”

And: “(M)ost of my rookie year, it was painkillers -- and lots of them. I was taking 25 Percocets at a time. Five hours later, I'd do it again. Another eight hours, and I'd do it again.”

And one last one (because you really should read the entire account): “Did I ever think about killing myself? Let's put it this way: I've overdosed several times and had to be taken to the hospital. I don't know if you'd call that suicidal or not, but any time you overdose on drugs, you have to step back and think about why that's happening.”

Also, read about how the lockout is affecting Ainge’s recovery.

Like former Jets QB Ray Lucas – who we wrote about last week – here’s hoping Ainge stays on the straight and narrow.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: March 29, 2011 1:57 pm

Hot Routes 3.29.11: Madden cover vote, 2nd round

Posted by Will Brinson

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Posted on: August 4, 2010 11:28 am

Ainge off to rehab

A few days ago, it seemed like Jets backup QB Kellen Clemmons was as good as gone. With Mark Sanchez entrenched as the starter and with free agent Mark Brunell signed to back him up, Clemmons, much to his teammates’ chagrin, was on the outside looking in.

But that might not be the case any longer.

The New York Daily News reports today that third-string QB Erik Ainge – a third-year player who’s never thrown a pass in the NFL – has entered drug treatment rehab facility for “recreational issues.”

Ainge was suspended four games in 2008 for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs, and as Manish Mehta writes, this latest news could land Ainge an eight-game suspension.

Nobody from the Jets is talking, but Ainge wrote Monday on his Twitter page, “I am taking some personal time to address a non-football related illness. Thank you for all the love, thoughts, and concerns. I love you all.”

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: July 20, 2010 5:12 pm

Brunell to sign with Jets this week

M. Brunell (right) celebrates New Orleans' Super Bowl win with D. Brees (Getty). According to Rich Cimini of ESPN New York , newly-bankrupt QB Mark Brunell will sign with the Jets on Thursday to push for the right to be Mark Sanchez’s backup.

Though this move has been expected for a while, it’s interesting New York would sign a nearly 40-year-old, 15-season veteran to compete with Kellen Clemens to back up their second-year starting QB. Interesting because recently a few Jets players said they liked Clemens as the backup, because 1) he knows the offense and 2) because Brunell isn’t exactly a young pup.

Clemens has played in 24 games during his four-year career, and though his numbers are less than impressive, he’s not a terrible choice if you need an emergency starter. He’s young, but he’s got good experience in New York’s system. He actually could manage your team to victory. Meanwhile, Brunell – who still has some of his athleticism but whose arm strength has abandoned him – has thrown just 30 passes in the past two seasons. In his past 10 starts, he’s also 3-7.

Assuming Brunell actually signs a contract, it’d be quite a battle to see who actually wins the No. 2 job. Some Jets players – mostly anonymously – already have made clear their preferences.

For the record, QBs Erik Ainge and Kevin O’Connell also are listed on the Jets roster. Until Thursday, at least.

--Josh Katzowitz

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com