Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Source: Colin Baxter joins Chargers
By Rich Cimini
New York Jets coach Rex Ryan won the game and got the last laugh, punctuated by his "Stay classy, San Diego" remark, but he ended up having his backup center swiped by Chargers coach Norv Turner.
Colin Baxter was released Tuesday by the Jets and cleared waivers, but instead of accepting an offer by the Jets to return to their practice squad, he decided Wednesday to join the Chargers' practice squad, a league source confirmed.
It was hardly a big-name recruiting war, but it came three days after the Jets' 27-21 win over the Chargers -- a game that will be remembered for the trash talk before and after the contest.
It started last week when Ryan told the San Diego media that he'd have won two Super Bowl rings if he had been hired by the Chargers in 2007, an unintentional but direct shot at Turner. He apologized to Turner, who zinged Ryan by reminding reporters that the Jets' coach has no rings to show for his Super Bowl guarantees in New York.
The Chargers blew an 11-point lead, prompting backup tight end Randy McMichael to question his own team instead of commending the Jets. He said the Jets' secondary "isn't anything. ... They didn't do anything." Several Jets players fired back, but the most colorful response came from Ryan, who channeled his inner Ron Burgundy.
"Stay classy, San Diego," he said Monday, quoting a line from "The Anchorman."
Baxter actually started out with the Chargers in training camp, signing as an undrafted rookie, but he was cut and claimed by the Jets on waivers. He started two games when All-Pro center Nick Mangold was injured, drawing positive reviews from the coaching staff, but he was relegated to inactive status as soon as Mangold returned to the lineup.
Baxter's decision to sign with the Chargers could be perceived as an angry reaction to being dumped by the Jets, but it's believed that he opted for San Diego because he felt there would be a better opportunity to play.
The Jets liked Baxter's long-term potential, but they decided to cut him on a bye week even though they still haven't replaced his roster spot.
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.