FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- If Greg McElroy gets the starting nod from Rex Ryan, he'll be in charge of the locker room he once said had a "corrupt mindset."
Before his winning NFL debut Sunday, McElroy's only headline-making moment as a member of the Jets was an infamous interview in January on a Birmingham, Ala., radio station. McElroy, who spent his rookie season on injured reserve, amplified the Jets' chemistry problems by claiming the locker room was filled with selfish players.
McElroy performed some serious damage control in the offseason. He said he called "a lot" of veteran players and apologized for his remarks.
"A lot of guys were upset and rightfully so," McElroy said Monday during a conference call with reporters. "I completely understand that, and that’s one thing I did have to own up to it and I had to do a little bit of damage control for sure.
"Those guys are understanding and Rex (Ryan) made a point that, 'Hey, last season’s in the past and rip off the rearview mirror and let’s go forward.' To everyone it really wasn’t an issue at that point. Just don’t worry about it, don’t do it again. I think Wayne Hunter actually said it best: 'Rookie mistake, don’t do it again.' "
McElroy was in a good mood Monday, and why not? Just like that, he went from a relatively anonymous third-stringer to a potential starter. He said Monday was like any other. Even though it was an off-day for players, he reported to the facility for breakfast, a workout and a film session, grading Sunday's game.
"Obviously, (I have) a lot of stuff to learn," he said. "But it was a good experience for me and I was actually happy with the way things looked at first glance."
After the game, McElroy's teammates praised his confidence in the huddle. RG Brandon Moore called him a "pretty confident kid, borderline cocky," meaning it as a compliment. McElroy laughed when told of the quote.
"I would like to think it's leaning a little bit more towards confident," he said. "But, yeah, one thing I’ve always tried to approach this game with is, you just never let them see you sweat. And that includes the players in your huddle, the players in the opposite huddle, the players on the opposite sideline, on your sideline. Never let them see you sweat."
For now, McElroy will sweat out Ryan's quarterback decision.