- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Greg McElroy will never forget the chat he had Tuesday with Rex Ryan.
"It's probably a conversation I'll replay a million times in my life. I'll probably remember every detail," McElroy said Wednesday of the brief talk in which Ryan told him he would be the starting quarterback for the New York Jets. "I'll remember how he said it, how I heard it, how I walked out, how he introduced himself, all those things. It's a great moment for me and it's something I'm obviously looking forward to being able to do on Sunday."
McElroy will make the first start of his young career after being tabbed to replace Mark Sanchez when the Jets host the Chargers on Sunday in Gang Green's home finale. The 2011 seventh-round pick has only played in one game in his career and has just seven passing attempts.
"This is what you dream for. This is something you always look into and something you look forward to your entire life," McElroy said. "I'm just very pleased and proud to have this opportunity and proud that Rex has enough faith in me to go out there and execute. I'm glad I have this group of teammates, a great group of guys to help me out and make this transition a little easier."
McElroy, the No. 3 quarterback for most of the season, has been active just once, against Arizona on Dec. 2. Now, with the team eliminated from the playoffs and Sanchez coming off another turnover-heavy game, Ryan has decided to give McElroy his big break. McElroy did help lead the Jets to a victory over Arizona in that lone game as he replaced Sanchez in the second half and took the Jets on what would be their only touchdown drive of the game.
McElroy praised Sanchez for everything he's taught him, saying he looks up to Sanchez, and does not envision there will be any bad blodd between himself, Sanchez or Tim Tebow. Sanchez and Tebow have a combined five playoff wins in their careers and are both former first-round picks who will now have to sit as the Jets send out a youngster with less than a full game of NFL experience.
"Those guys are so supportive. I'm very grateful for that. I think they're grateful for our relationship as well," McElroy said. "It's a great group, great interaction, great chemistry and we're lucky to have such good friends and such great competition at the position."
McElroy said his father told him to live in the moment and soak it all in. The thought of being introduced as a starter has been motivation for him for a while -- McElroy said he has dreamed of it since he was a young kid wearing a Troy Aikman jersey -- and he finally gets to realize that dream against the Chargers.
"I remember thinking about that when you're getting through those workouts in the offseason. Finding a little bit more just to finish a rep, finish a set, I remember that was what I went to," McElroy said. "Go out there proud and represent the Jets and represent Jets nation."