Comeback POY Pennington is Jets' starter for '07

Updated: February 24, 2007, 10:45 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

INDIANAPOLIS -- Chad Pennington, the 2006 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, earned an even more meaningful honor on Friday -- his coach declared him to be the New York Jets' starting quarterback entering next season.

Chad Pennington
Pennington

"Chad did an outstanding job for us as the starter and he is the starter," coach Eric Mangini told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine.

At the start of the 2006 season, the Jets tried out four quarterbacks -- including Pennington. There were questions about whether Pennington would bounce back from a second major shoulder surgery, and even rookie Kellen Clemens was eyed as a potential starter.

Pennington put an end to all that, earning the job as the season began and leading the Jets back to the playoffs. He completed 64.5 percent of his passes last season, throwing for 3,352 yards and 17 touchdowns with 16 interceptions.

Now Clemens will be Pennignton's understudy as the Jets' backup QB.

"[Clemens] has a better understanding of what it takes to be a starter in the NFL after spending a year in the system," Mangini told reporters.

"As with every position we have, each week you have an opportunity to move forward and each year you have an opportunity to move forward. That is going to take a lot of hard work," he added. "Chad has done an outstanding job and he'll be the starter going into camp."

Last season was the first time Pennington, an oft-injured, seven-year veteran, played an entire 16-game schedule.