NFL notes

Ryan still won’t start Tebow

McElroy out, and Jets will go back to struggling Sanchez at QB

The Associated PressDecember 28, 2012 

— Just when you thought the Jets’ quarterback situation could not get any stranger, there’s still more to this circus.

Mark Sanchez will start Sunday’s game in Buffalo, coach Rex Ryan said, because Greg McElroy is out with a concussion. McElroy reported the concussion to Ryan Thursday morning at around 9:30 a.m. after experiencing headaches while lifting weights. Ryan said Tim Tebow will be the No. 2 quarterback, with no promise of any role in the season finale.

“Right now, he’s being evaluated, but even with that, I’m not going to play him,” Ryan said of McElroy. “I don’t care what the tests say.”

Ryan then delivered his decision to Sanchez and Tebow, who were in position meetings. “We have two practices and one walk-through before the game, and Mark’s very familiar with the Bills,” Ryan said. “That’s the reason I’m going with Mark.”

Tebow, Ryan said, was again upset by the decision. “Obviously he’s not happy with that, as you’d expect,” Ryan said, adding that he understands Tebow’s frustration with how this entire season has gone. “No doubt, I can definitely understand.”

Gonzalez ’95 percent’ that he’ll retire

Tony Gonzalez hasn’t changed his stance on retirement since the first day of training camp.

The 13-time Pro Bowl tight end remains 95 percent certain he will walk away from football after the season, though everything hinges on whether the Atlanta Falcons advance deep into postseason as a No. 1 playoff seed.

At 36, Gonzalez continues to make enough big plays that he was voted to his third straight Pro Bowl in four seasons with Atlanta.

LeBeau, 75, to return next season

Armed with a promise from his beloved defensive coordinator that he wouldn’t retire without first informing his players, Ryan Clark threatened to avoid Dick LeBeau.

Clark needn’t worry. The 75-year-old LeBeau has every intention of returning in 2013 for what would be a 55th consecutive season in the NFL.

LeBeau opened his first meeting of the week with his defense by telling the players he’ll come back for a 10th season as Pittsburgh’s defensive coordinator.

Vikings get Allen back

Jared Allen returned to practice for the Minnesota Vikings after missing the previous practices because of an illness.

Adrian Peterson was held out for a second straight day but is expected to play in the must-win game Sunday at home against the Packers. Peterson has been given extra rest during the second half of the season.

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