Report: Michael Vick in Jets' sights

Posted: December 21, 2012

COULD MICHAEL VICK become the new face of the New York Jets?

This much is clear: It's no longer Mark Sanchez, who could soon become a former member of the team.

And Tim Tebow might even beat him out the door.

A person with knowledge of the situation told the Associated Press on Thursday that the Jets will consider all of their options regarding the two quarterbacks during the offseason. That means both Sanchez and Tebow are in limbo and trades cannot be ruled out.

The person, who requested anonymity because the team's personnel plans are private, told the AP that the Jets have not made any determinations involving Sanchez or Tebow.

The New York Daily News, citing sources, reported that the Jets would be interested in Vick and that the Eagles quarterback would come to New York if it was clear he would be the starter. The newspaper also said Jets coach Rex Ryan "loves" Vick, who is expected to be released by the Eagles.

Asked about the report, Ryan said, "I'll just focus on the players we have on this roster instead of somebody else's players."

The Jets could be hard-pressed to trade or cut Sanchez, who is due $8.25 million in guarantees next season after having his contract extended last offseason.

But there are no such complications with Tebow, who will likely be traded or released after just one disappointing season in New York. Tebow has 2 years remaining on his contract, but would cost the Jets only a little more than $1 million against the salary cap if cut.

The futures of Ryan, general manager Mike Tannenbaum and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano also are uncertain.

Parting ways with Tebow, the immensely popular but little-used backup, appears a certainty, though, after he came to New York amid lots of hype but had little impact. The final indication that Tebow will not be part of the Jets' future came when Ryan went with Greg McElroy, the third-stringer, to start at quarterback instead of him against San Diego on Sunday.

"Sometimes, things just happen out of your control," Tebow said Wednesday. "Obviously, you might not be pleased with them or happy about it, but you just try to handle it as best you can."

There are several complications that could lead to Sanchez actually sticking around in New York - whether it's as a backup or starter. Sanchez, who received a contract extension in March, would cost the Jets a $17.1 million salary-cap hit next season. They could, however, spread that amount over the next two seasons if he is cut after June 1.

Sanchez, whom the Jets drafted fifth overall in 2009, was benched in favor of McElroy for at least the home finale Sunday against San Diego. Sanchez threw four interceptions and fumbled away the final offensive snap - and the Jets' playoff chances - in the 14-10 loss at Tennessee on Monday.

Tebow was hampered the last month by two broken ribs, his numbers were far from special even before that. For the season, he has rushed for 102 yards on 32 carries and is 6-for-8 for 39 yards, and has a stunning zero touchdowns while participating in just 72 offensive snaps.

"I think any time you look at those things, it's a combination of things, but I wouldn't use the words 'didn't work' at all," Sparano said. "We had a plan going into this thing, but obviously the plan always, at that particular time, was that Mark was the quarterback and Tim would have a role and to what degree the role was, if I remember correctly, it was one to 20 plays in a game. Some days it was eight, some days it was one, some days it was none."

Noteworthy * 

Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson first wrote the names of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims on his cleats. Now Johnson has sent gifts to the family of Grace McDonnell after speaking with them by telephone.

He had the names on his cleats for Monday night's game against the Jets, and he scored on a franchise-record 94-yard touchdown run. The family reached out to Johnson through the Titans, and Johnson spoke Tuesday with the McDonnells and Grace's older brother, Jack.

Johnson said he sent over a few Christmas gifts to Jack McDonnell and the family, and he also shared his telephone number in case they need anything that he might help with in the future.

Johnson said he still plans to auction off the shoes to help families. But he sounded reluctant to discuss the tragedy.

"I kind of want to step back . . . I kind of did it for the kids and the family. I really don't want to make it about me," Johnson said.

In a related story, the Dolphins sent flowers in memory of Sandy Hook school psychologist Mary Sherlach, a Miami fan whose funeral will be Friday.

"It just came to our attention that one of the individuals who was one of the victims up there was an avid Dolphin fan," coach Joe Philbin said. "We just thought it would be the right thing to do."

* Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano can resume coaching whenever he's ready. Dr. Larry Cripe said Pagano has been cleared to return and that it is up to the coach and the Colts to determine when that will happen, and how much Pagano will do. Pagano is expected to return to the team complex as early as Monday. He was diagnosed with leukemia Sept. 26 and immediately began the first of three rounds of chemotherapy.

* Buffalo cornerback and return man Leodis McKelvin was placed on injured reserve because of a groin injury.

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