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Originally published Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 7:14 PM

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Jets bypass Tebow again as Sanchez returns as starter

The New York Jets' wacky quarterback situation took yet another twist. Greg McElroy has a concussion — which he didn't reveal until...

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets' wacky quarterback situation took yet another twist.

Greg McElroy has a concussion — which he didn't reveal until Thursday — and will be replaced by Mark Sanchez as the New York Jets' starting quarterback in the season finale at Buffalo on Sunday.

Coach Rex Ryan walked into his news conference before practice, took the podium and opened with: "You're not going to believe this."

McElroy, preparing to make his second NFL start in place of the benched Sanchez, was lifting weights Thursday morning and started experiencing headaches, Ryan said. McElroy went to the team's training staff and then revealed he was suffering concussion-like symptoms after being sacked 11 times in the Jets' 27-17 loss to San Diego last Sunday.

McElroy and trainer John Mellody then went to Ryan to tell the coach the news. Ryan was not certain exactly when McElroy suffered the concussion.

"We come to find out that Greg wasn't exactly truthful with our training staff after the game," said Ryan, who acknowledged he was "stunned" to hear it. "He never disclosed that he had symptoms after the game to our trainers. Right now, he's being evaluated for a concussion."

Ryan said there was no way he would play McElroy against the Bills and the third-stringer will "definitely be out."

Ryan chose to start Sanchez over Tim Tebow because the team has just two practices and a walkthrough to prepare before the game.

"Mark has had success earlier in the season against Buffalo and he's very familiar with them," Ryan said. "That's the reason I'm going with Mark."

Sanchez appeared to be on his way to a solid season when he threw three touchdown passes in the Jets' season-opening 48-28 win over the Bills. It ended up being his best game of a lousy season. Sanchez was benched for the first time in his four-year career after turning the ball over five times at Tennessee on Dec. 17. McElroy leapfrogged Tebow on the depth chart to start against the Chargers.

"I know he believes in himself," Ryan said of Sanchez, "and any competitor would want this opportunity."

After finding out about McElroy's condition, Ryan spoke with both Sanchez and Tebow to tell them of his decision.

"Obviously, Tim's not happy with that, as you'd expect," Ryan said.

Tebow will be the No. 2 quarterback on Sunday at Buffalo, and could play — but it won't be as the starter.

"Obviously, he'd like a shot at it," Ryan said, "but with the situation the way it is, it's a short window, really, to get the preparation time in and I just think it's best for our football team."

With the way the season has played out, from quarterback controversies to the injuries suffered by key players, Ryan was asked if this is the strangest year he has ever experienced in the NFL.

"Yeah, I would say that's pretty accurate," Ryan said, laughing. "And, we've had some strange ones."

49ers Smith has

torn triceps

All-Pro defensive tackle Justin Smith is unlikely to play Sunday in the regular-season finale against Arizona because of a partially torn left triceps. The injury could force Smith to miss some or all of the postseason.

The San Francisco defense has been gouged for big yardage and points since Smith was injured early in the third quarter Dec. 16 at New England.

The 49ers surrendered four consecutive touchdown drives after Smith left that game with the 49ers leading 31-3. Without Smith over most of the past six quarters, the 49ers have allowed 753 yards, 66 points (42 against the Seahawks on Sunday) and 48 first downs.

Notes

Dick LeBeau, the Pittsburgh Steelers' 75-year-old defensive coordinator, said he has every intention of returning in 2013 for what would be a 55th consecutive season in the NFL.

• With Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy not practicing again because of right shoulder injuries, third-string quarterback Thad Lewis worked with Cleveland's first-team offense on Thursday.

Weeden and McCoy were hurt last week against Denver, and although they have not been ruled out, it appears likely that Lewis will start.

• Baltimore safety Ed Reed was fined $55,000 for an illegal hit on New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz, Fox Sports said, citing an unidentified source.

• Carolina quarterback Cam Newton was fined $21,000 for abusive conduct toward a game official, an NFL source told AP. Newton shouted at and bumped referee Jerome Boger in Carolina's victory over Oakland on Sunday.

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