Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Updated: January 5, 12:37 PM ET
Greg McElroy talks of 'corrupt mindset'
By Rich Cimini
Rookie quarterback Greg McElroy missed the entire season because of a thumb injury, but he witnessed the sideshow of the New York Jets' locker room -- a.k.a. the Florham Park Zoo.
It was an eye-opening experience for the former Alabama star, who said there was a "corrupt mindset" in the locker room and "extremely selfish individuals" -- suggesting it was more than just Santonio Holmes, who jawed with teammates and was benched during the season finale.
"It's definitely not a fun place to be, I can assure you," McElroy said Wednesday on Birmingham, Ala., radio station 97.3 The Zone. "It's the first time I've ever been around extremely selfish individuals. 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 ... had really had good games individually."
"That's the disappointing thing," he continued. "It's going to take a lot to come together next year. I think the fact we struggled at times this year really led to ... this corrupt mindset within the locker room. But I think we're going to regroup. I think we'll be a better team because of the trials and tribulations this year."
Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum responded directly to McElroy's comments later Wednesday on WFAN radio.
"Some of the things that happened this year, they can't happen again. I've talked to a number of players besides Greg McElroy, a number of coaches ... and we're going to fix a lot of these problems," he said. "Chemistry was certainly a factor this year. We haven't denied that. When we put a team together, which is my responsibility, you need talent, character and chemistry -- and we didn't get it done. We were 8-8."
Tannebaum added: "I don't think we have a corrupt locker room. We have a lot of good people, we've won a lot of games with (coach) Rex (Ryan) and this nucleus and we're going to get the problems fixed."
McElroy, a seventh-round draft pick, underwent preseason thumb surgery and spent the season on injured reserve. He remained with the team to rehab his injury and was throwing on the side by the end of the season. He figures prominently in the team's plans as a backup quarterback.
When he was drafted, McElroy was thrilled because he idolized Joe Namath, an Alabama alum. To honor Namath, he wore No. 12 at Alabama.
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.