"Chad Pennington still is on schedule to test his surgically repaired shoulder by the end of the month, but the Jets' quarterback missed his last chance yesterday to throw in an official practice before training camp," wrote Rich Cimini in the Daily News. "The Jets wrapped up their off-season program, which included three weeks of practices, and Pennington didn't participate in any of the sessions, according to a team spokesman."
"The Jets thought quarterback Chad Pennington would begin throwing in May following off-season shoulder surgery," wrote Bob Glauber in Newsday. "Then it was pushed back to June. But Pennington has yet to throw, and Jets coach Herman Edwards has indicated it won't be until late this month that the quarterback will resume his passing."
So where does the truth lie? It looks like the Bergen Record got the story right, however, the Daily News and Newsday don't deserve criticism for getting the story wrong. A team official told both Cimini and Glauber that the quarterback didn't start throwing yet.
Bergen Record reporter Randy Lange was told by two sources that Pennington has been tossing a football for a couple of weeks.
"Chad Pennington is throwing again," wrote Lange. "That is the word from player and agent sources involved with the Jets. Pennington, the quarterback who tore his right rotator cuff in October and had his shoulder surgically repaired in February, has been quietly soft-tossing at the end of Organized Team Activity practices for about two weeks, one teammate said."
Despite the Jets denials, Lange stands by his story.
So what is going on here? It looks like a game of semantics.
Contacted on Thursday by Jets Confidential, a team spokesman said, "Pennington did not throw during the OTA sessions. He did not compete in the OTAs. He continues his rehab, attends meetings, and works with the QBs and Coach (Mike) Heimerdinger. Coach Edwards will let you know officially when Pennington throws a football."
Here's the catch. According to Lange, Pennington didn't throw during the OTAs, but after practice with a few of his teammates.
"He wasn't airing it out," said Lange. "He had a catch with a couple of teammates after practice."
The Jets handling of this situation has one New York football writer miffed.
"He didn't throw in official practices, but that doesn't mean he didn't throw off to the side," said the writer. "Semantics, right? I'm getting tired of this nonsense."
So why did the Jets handle the situation in this fashion? Well, it looks like a case of bad timing. On the same day Lange broke this story, Cimini and Glauber contacted the team and asked if Pennington was throwing yet. The team official who told both writers "no", was not aware of the story Lange was working on. Lange never contacted the team for comment.
So the team thought it was safe to say Pennington wasn't throwing yet, and that is what Cimini and Glauber were told. When Lange had a story contradicting the Daily News and Newsday stories, it put the team in an awkward position. At this point, they started to play a game of semantics by saying Pennington didn't participate in OTAs. After all, his soft-tossing was done after practice, not during an OTA session.
"I think it was definitely a case of the Jets doing their Bill Clinton impersonation," said one New York sportswriter. "It depends on what the meaning of ‘throw' is. Maybe the key is how Cimini and Glauber asked the question, something like, "Did he throw during the OTAs?'' meaning serious, in-practice work. And maybe Herman and the public relations department didn't consider his playing catch after practice worth commenting on."
To make a long story short, yes, Pennington has begun to throw.
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