A conversation with Chad Pennington

Q)There have been different reports about the nature of your second shoulder injury. Can you clear up the situation?

Pennington: It was a totally different injury. I know people try to make me a liar. It was a shoulder capsule tear. The capsule is totally different than your rotator cuff or your labrum. If you have a 300-pound lineman trying to pull your arm back as your arm is going forward, something has to give. Actually I'm pretty lucky I didn't blow my elbow out, and my first repair didn't break down. It didn't. It stayed strong.

Q)Has there been a mistake in the reporting of your injury. The team put out a statement immediately after your surgery that your rotator cuff was also torn in addition to the capsule and the labrum. Could you set the record straight has to what it is?

Pennington: What Dr. (James) Andrews told me is that it is an interior capsule tear, which is the front part of the shoulder. It is a minor rotator cuff tear, not in the same area as my repair. The emphasis is more on the capsule being split. Normally when you tear your capsule, you dislocate your shoulder. My shoulder was put in a position where the bone kind of poked through the capsule, and had a small tear in it. They had to go in and repair that.

Q)Chad, you use a 30 week timetable for both surgeries, but isn't it apples and oranges since it's the second surgery to that shoulder? Doesn't that change the timetable a little bit?

Pennington: I think it would if it was the same exact injury. With this injury, I haven't dealt with as much pain as I dealt with the first time. I wasn't in a sling as long as I was the first time, and my rehab has progressed faster this time than last time. The rehabs have been similar, but I'm progressing my faster.

Q)If seems like half the quarterbacks in the league have been be rumored to be coming to the Jets this off-season – from Drew Brees to Matt Leinart. How do you feel about all those rumors swirling?

Pennington: I like it. I like the speculation because it gives me fuel. My goals are so high for myself. Some of my goals haven't even been accomplished in this league.

Q)As confident as you are, you have a contract issue in March. The team will ask you to lower your cap number in some fashion. Would you be amenable to that?

Pennington: That is between Mike Tannenbaum and (my agent) Tom Condon. We have always done a good job on both sides of working things out, and getting things straight. I put my faith and trust in them that they will get things taken care of.

Q)Chad, a day after your press conference following the surgery, the Newark Star-Ledger quoted two team officials who contradicted what you said. You said you injury wasn't as bad as last year, and the officials said it was. Your thoughts . . .

Pennington: I can't control their opinion. I just know what Dr. Andrews told me. (Jets surgeon) Dr. (Ken) Montgomery was there. He was looking inside my shoulder with Dr. Andrews. I can't control their opinion, but they are wrong.

Q)Did it disappoint you when you saw that story?

Pennington: It's disappointing because you would hate to think as an organization we can't provide a united front, but sometimes there are people in the organization who don't and we need to. We are a team, not only in between the lines, but outside the lines also. I'm just telling you what Dr. Andrews told me. There might have been a difference of opinion if Dr. Montgomery wasn't down there for the surgery, but he was. He was right there in the operating room with Dr. Andrews. They actually consulted with each other about what to do and how to do it. I don't think there is a difference of opionion. I think everyone is on the same page.

Q)How did you feel you were throwing prior to the second shoulder injury?

Pennington: I felt I had the velocity I wanted, but didn't have the precision I needed. I was getting better each week. Even in the Jacksonville game, I felt the ball was coming out better. Every week I could see improvement.

Q)How much will your rehab from last year help you in dealing with the process this time around?

Pennington: I have experience on my side this time. I know how I feel and what I need to do, and when I need to push it and when I don't. I have time on my side this time. This time I have a chance to get really healthy. My plan is to gain some weight and come back bigger and stronger.

Q)Any doubt in your mind you will be the starter this year?

Pennington: I expect to be the starter. I have a history. There are no questions people can ask about our success as a team when I've been healthy and the starting quarterback here. I have history of that, and I expect to be the starter.

Q)Do you feel you rushed back to quickly last year?

Pennington: No, no. We didn't lose to Kansas City because of my injury and we actually won a game with my injury.

This time I just have the luxury of having more time, instead of going through some of the things I was fighting through early in the season while we were playing games. Now I'm going to deal with those things in April, May, June and July. There were things we knew I would be fighting through all the way up to November and December and now I don't have to worry about fighting through those things during the season. To put it in perspective for you - 10 months after the first surgery was around the New England game - 10 months this time will be before training camp starts. That is a lot of time I can use to my advantage.

Q)What were you fighting through at the beginning of last season?

Pennington: You fight through precision and accuracy, getting your central nervous system back where it needs to be. I might throw 10 hook routes, and they may not all go exactly where I want them to go.

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