Notes: Jets bench Mark Sanchez in favor of Greg McElroy

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez’s performance Monday was tough to watch.
andy lyons/getty images
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez’s performance Monday was tough to watch.

Mark Sanchez is no longer the Jets’ franchise quarterback.

He might not even be the backup.

Rex Ryan decided to bench Sanchez Tuesday in favor of Greg McElroy after the fourth-year quarterback had another miserable performance in a 14-10 loss at Tennessee Monday night that eliminated New York from playoff contention.


‘‘I think it’s best for our team, and for this game,’’ Ryan said during a conference call.

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So, it’ll be McElroy under center for his first NFL start when the Jets (6-8) play the Chargers at home Sunday. Ryan hasn’t decided whether Sanchez or Tim Tebow — listed as the No. 2 quarterback — will be the backup.

While Sanchez blew the second chance Ryan gave him a few weeks ago, Tebow was leapfrogged by a third-stringer, fueling speculation that the team has little confidence in him as a quarterback.

‘‘I have to look at what I think is the best for the team and not necessarily the individual,’’ Ryan said. ‘‘I’ll say this about Tim and I’ve always said it: I know he wants to help this team be successful in the worst way and there’s no doubt about that.’’

Sanchez threw four interceptions Monday night and wasn’t able to handle a low snap with the game on the line, ending the Jets’ hopes to get back into the postseason.


Things got worse after the game for Sanchez, who received a series of death threats from one disgruntled fan on Twitter. League spokesman Greg Aiello said the NFL’s security staff was aware of the man’s threats and was working with the Jets to assist on the matter. The team declined comment through a spokesman.

Ryan said after the loss that he wasn’t ready to decide who would start against the Chargers, but told Sanchez he would be making a change at quarterback by going with either McElroy or Tebow.

‘‘He respected my decision,’’ Ryan said. ‘‘That’s not easy, that’s for sure.’’

After talking to his staff and members of the organization Tuesday, Ryan chose McElroy.

‘‘This is my opinion, and I do believe that it’s best for our team that Greg is our quarterback,’’ Ryan insisted. ‘‘I’m the guy that’s making this decision. Every decision I make is based on what I believe is the best decision for the team.’’


But Ryan was vague in his answers to why he selected McElroy above Tebow, choosing after being asked several times to not go into detail about what specifically factored into the decision.

‘‘I can answer this question a million ways, frontward, backward, sideways, anything else,’’ Ryan said. ‘‘It’s my decision and I based it on a gut feeling or whatever.’’

McElroy, a seventh-round pick last year out of Alabama, helped lead the Jets to a 7-6 win over Arizona on Dec. 2 when Ryan pulled Sanchez late in the third quarter. McElroy had modest numbers — 5 of 7 for 29 yards — but threw for the only touchdown of the game, and nearly led another scoring drive as the Jets ran out the clock.

Sanchez leads the league with 24 turnovers, including 17 interceptions, and has turned the ball over 50 times since the start of last season. His future with the team is uncertain because he signed a contract extension in March that included $8.25 million guaranteed next season.

Ryan would not commit to Sanchez beyond this season, and wouldn’t discuss what the depth chart will look like.

Belcher made threats

Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher was apparently worried he would lose his baby and money to his longtime girlfriend before fatally shooting her and killing himself, according to newly released police reports.

Belcher also complained about Kasandra Perkins, the mother of the couple’s 3-month-old daughter, in conversations and text messages sent to a woman he was dating on the side, the reports show.

In one text message sent in late October or early November, Belcher wrote he ‘‘would shoot’’ Perkins ‘‘if she didn’t leave him alone.’’ The girlfriend told police that Belcher said ‘‘his child’s mother threatened to take all his money and his child if they split up’’ and ‘‘knew exactly how to press his buttons and make him angry.’’

Belcher shot Perkins multiple times in their home on Dec. 1 and then drove to team headquarters, where he killed himself in front of his coach and general manager after telling them he ‘‘wasn’t able to get enough help.’’

Cowboy Brent barred

Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent is barred from the Dallas sideline for the rest of the season, team and league sources told A Dallas judge ordered Brent to wear an electronic monitor pending his trial on an intoxication manslaughter charge in the one-car crash that killed a teammate. State District Judge Fred Tinsley also lowered Brent’s bond from $500,000 to $100,000. He ordered Brent not to drink alcohol or drive without a valid driver’s license. Prosecutors say Brent was driving with a suspended license on the night of the Dec. 8 crash that killed friend and Cowboys practice squad member Jerry Brown . . . The Bills signed starting right guard Kraig Urbik to a four-year extension worth $13.3 million. A person familiar with the deal provided the length and monetary terms, and said it includes a $3.5 million signing bonus for this year . . . The Chargers placed running back Ryan Mathews (broken collarbone), receiver Malcom Floyd (ankle), and tackle Reggie Wells (ankle and toes) on season-ending injured reserve . . . The Bears placed running back Michael Bush (ribs) on IR and signed Kahlil Bell to replace him. Bush had rushed for 411 yards and five TDs. Bell had been waived by Chicago in October . . . Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said cornerback Ike Taylor (fractured ankle) will miss his third straight game when the club faces the Bengals Sunday. Pittsburgh also placed cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke on IR with a shoulder problem . . . The Browns named Alec Schneiner their new president. Schneiner, 39, had been vice president and general counsel for the Cowboys for the last five years. The Browns also placed linebacker James-Michael Johnson and defensive back T.J. Ward on IR with knee injuries . . . The Dolphins were awarded defensive back Dimitri Patterson one day after he was waived by the Browns . . . Giants receiver Victor Cruz visited the home of 6-year-old Jack Pinto, a Connecticut school shooting victim who was buried in a replica Cruz jersey.