Combat Sports

Rex Ryan says it's not time for Tim Tebow ... yet

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Rex Ryan says it's not time for Tim Tebow ... yet

From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- Changes might be coming for the New York Jets.Mark Sanchez losing his starting job won't be among them.Rex Ryan again stood by his quarterback Monday despite Sanchez's struggles in an ugly mistake-filled 30-9 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday that left the Jets coach searching for answers and fans chanting for Tim Tebow to take over."I think Mark's our guy," Ryan said. "I don't think there's any doubt about that. I'm confident in Mark."There's no question, though, that the Jets (3-5) need to figure things out, and quick. They have games at Seattle and St. Louis after their bye-week break, followed by a home game on Thanksgiving night against New England.Ryan originally planned to have the players report to the facility on Monday and Tuesday, but decided to give them the full week off to be with their families and prepare for Hurricane Sandy."I want them to get away and when they come back, we have to be all in," Ryan said during a conference call. "The only chance we have is if we are 100 percent all in. We have no wiggle room. We need to start playing a ton better."Ryan will brainstorm with his coaches this week before they take a few days off, and he expects suggestions on how to fix "everything" from everyone on his staff."Is it a little change? Is it a radical change?" Ryan said. "I'm up for anything."While Tebow won't be the solution as the full-time quarterback, Ryan acknowledged that he'll explore how the versatile backup can be used more on offense after seeing minimal playing time during the season's first half. Tebow has played in just 54 offensive plays, averaging less than seven per game."I think we'll take a hard look at how we're using him, what we're asking him to do," Ryan said. "Are there other things we can do with him? I think you're absolutely right. We will definitely look at that."So much was made in the offseason about how Tebow would add a unique element to the offense, whether it was in wildcat or read-option packages, but that certainly hasn't materialized. Last week, offensive coordinator Tony Sparano said he could "do a better job" of using Tebow.To his credit, Tebow has not complained publicly, or offered a sliver of frustration, knowing he could be doing more to help this team."I'm just ready and willing," said Tebow, who even lined up at wide receiver Sunday. "Whenever they call my number, I go out there to help the team and (I'm) not listening to what the crowd is saying."There's a good chance that Tebow will be a large part of the discussions between the coaches this week, and would understand if the backup quarterback wasn't thrilled with his role so far."Any competitor wants to be out there playing, so it wouldn't be shocking if that's how he felt," Ryan said. "As a football team, we're frustrated. We're getting closer and closer, and we thought we were getting better as a football team, but we took a step back yesterday."The Jets allowed a blocked punt to be returned for a touchdown, had a field goal blocked and Sanchez fumbled on a sack that the Dolphins later turned into a score. There were mistakes all over the field, and it wasn't all Sanchez."We all understand it comes down to execution," center Nick Mangold said. "It doesn't matter if we have Joe Namath back there if we don't execute."There were missed throws, dropped passes, failed assignments on the line and in the running game -- and it all added up to a dismal performance on offense. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie intimated after the game that the defense has been doing its part while the offense continues to struggle.With a long break in between games, there's plenty of time for frustration to fester, something that helped rip apart the Jets' season a year ago. Mangold insists that won't be the case this time around."We learned last year that pointing fingers and being disgruntled is not going to help anybody," Mangold said.The players also support Sanchez as their leader, despite the growing public sentiment that some sort of change needs to be made to save the season."I believe in Mark just as much as he believes in me being a nose tackle," Sione Po'uha said.Sanchez was 28 of 54 for 283 yards with a touchdown, but had the fumble late in the opening quarter on a sack by Nolan Carroll. He also was intercepted by Chris Clemons when he had the Jets driving while trailing 27-3 in the third quarter.There are mistakes still being made by Sanchez that many don't expect from a fourth-year quarterback. But, he has also had to adjust to a constantly changing cast of characters on offense around him. While many teams build around their quarterbacks, particularly a first-rounder such as Sanchez, the Jets have rebuilt the personnel on offense on a regular basis.Only two skill position players remain from Sanchez's rookie season in 2009: tight end Dustin Keller and running back Shonn Greene. While it's not the only reason for Sanchez's struggles, the frequent turnover can't have helped his development.So, for now, this remains Sanchez's team to lead -- to a second-half surge or a second straight season out of the postseason."If it was one guy, I think it's easy to say we'd make that change," Ryan said. "But I think Mark gives us the best chance to win. That's how I feel. Can Tim be successful? Yeah, absolutely. We'll look at that as well. But in my opinion, Mark as the starting quarterback gives my football team the best chance to win."------NOTES:Po'uha said he has no structural damage to his back after missing three games because of severe stiffness. He returned Sunday and played 21 snaps. ... Ryan said thinks RB-WR Joe McKnight (sprained right ankle), LB Bart Scott (hyperextended right big toe), S Eric Smith (sprained knee) and RB Bilal Powell (dislocated right shoulder) should be healthy and ready to go against Seattle.

What they’re saying: Congratulations to Andre Ward

What they’re saying: Congratulations to Andre Ward

Oakland's own Andre "Son of God" Ward is calling it a career at 32-0. And plenty of noteable teams and icons showed the champ respect on Thursday...

Gary Brown never recovered on the field from 2015 DFA: ‘Hurt me to my core’

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AP

Gary Brown never recovered on the field from 2015 DFA: ‘Hurt me to my core’

There was a time when Gary Brown was considered the Giants’ top prospect – their center fielder of the future. Hype was never higher than in 2011, when the fleet-footed 22-year-old set a franchise record with 188 hits in 131 games, earning California League Rookie of the Year honors with the San Jose Giants in his first full minor league campaign.

But six seasons and seven major league at-bats later, Brown’s professional baseball career ended at 28 years old.

“I feel like I let my emotions get the best of me in the years after that (2011 season),” Brown told NBC Sports Bay Area in an exclusive phone interview. “I think I started to believe the hype that everyone started to give to me.”

Brown never matched his magical .336-season in High-A ball with 14 home runs plus 53 stolen bases, and then struggled finding a routine with the rigors of the Pacific Coast League’s travel schedule once he reached Triple-A. Despite three hits in his seven at-bats as a September call-up with the Giants in 2014, Brown was designated for assignment on March 31, 2015.

Brown’s career spiraled playing the draining waiver game. Unsuccessful stints with the Cardinals and Angels sent Brown to the land of the last chance: Independent ball in the Atlantic League.

“It was not fun for me for quite a few years. I wasn’t a very happy person,” Brown said. “After I got DFA'd by the Giants, that really took a toll on me. I never really recovered from that, so I was kind of stuck in the past and things kind of just got away from me. 

“I was kind of heartbroken to be honest. I mean, it hurt me to my core.”

Through tumultuous career turns, the Southern California native never turned on the team that drafted him 24th overall in 2010.

“I'm thankful for the opportunity the Giants gave me. No matter how big or small mine was, I am very thankful” Brown said emphatically. “I definitely wish I could have shown what I feel like my true potential was, but it didn't work out that way. 

“I still root for the Giants. All my friends with the Giants, I'm still pulling for them. They run that organization so well. I have no ill intentions or anything bad to say about the Giants organization.” 

Far removed from his days with the Giants, Brown found new life with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in 2016. Brown batted .249 and returned to the team in 2017. He started strong with a .298 batting average in 31 games while having fun for the first time in years, but injuries struck at an inopportune time.

Chronic aches in his hip joints and intense back spasms, in addition to a frustrating lack of interest from MLB teams and the fact he and his wife had twins on the way, spurred Brown to retirement in the middle of the season on July 5.

“Retirement has nothing to do with the lack of competitiveness (of the Atlantic League). It was the distance and the time away, matching the minor league salary,” Brown said. “Going back to that makes it really hard on the family and when you get older it really becomes about what you value more.”

The player he once was is gone, but the person he is has only grown. There’s one piece of advice which goes beyond the diamond that Brown was sure to pass on to the next wave of future top Giants prospects.

“Never stop making adjustments,” Brown said ruefully.

Days away from turning 29 on Sept. 28 and out of baseball for the first time in his life, Brown is certainly making his own.

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Part 2 of our interview with Gary Brown focusing on where he is now in his life will be released Friday on NBCSportsBayArea.com.