New York Jets coach Rex Ryan has said that half the organization is pulling for Kellen Clemens, while the others are rooting for Brett Ratliff.
So where does that leave Erik Ainge?
Ainge was a fifth-round pick last year who had an impressive career at Tennessee, but was beset by injuries and a suspension for violating the league’s policy on steroids and related substances.
“I feel healthy for the first time in a long time,” he said. “I feel healthy and I feel confident.”
While considered a long shot to win the starting job, Ainge has impressive credentials. He ranks third in Volunteers history behind Peyton Manning and Casey Clausen with 8,700 yards passing.
“I feel like I have a great shot,” Ainge said. “Obviously, you can’t give three quarterbacks equal reps. I’ll have to fight, scratch and take advantage of every opportunity that I get.”
When Brett Favre retired last month, it appeared to set the stage for the three-way competition — until the Jay Cutler rumors began swirling.
Several teams, including the Jets, have contacted the Denver Broncos about Cutler’s availability.
Meanwhile, Ryan has told anyone who’ll listen that he’s comfortable with the quarterbacks he has on his roster, and they’ll all have a fair chance to win the job this summer.
“Everyone seems to think we have major issues there,” Ryan said at the NFL meetings. “I don’t think the situation is what people think it is. I think we’re going to be just fine.”
But fueling the speculation that New York perhaps isn’t completely sold on the trio is the fact that the Jets, who have the 17th overall pick next month, scheduled workouts with Kansas State’s Josh Freeman and Southern California’s Mark Sanchez.