Scotty McKnight is wearing No. 15 for the Jets, but his jersey might as well be a bull’s-eye.
McKnight, a seventh-round draft pick by the Jets, faces the torment all rookies do in training camp, but the wide receiver is an even bigger target because he is close friends with quarterback Mark Sanchez. Many of the Jets players knew McKnight before he joined the team, making him an easy mark.
Like everything in 2011, the jokes have moved into the world of social media, where Jets players love to poke fun at “smcknight21” on Twitter.
“Just found out that @Mark_Sanchez got a massage on our day off, the bad thing is that @smcknight21 was the masseuse,” Dustin Keller posted.
McKnight knew what he was facing when the Jets drafted him. He has spent each of the past two Decembers in New Jersey with Sanchez while on winter break from college at Colorado.
“He’s the best friend of one of our teammates and we all know him,” Keller said this week. “We know we can give it to him better than anyone else.”
McKnight has accepted his lot, and said Keller and center Nick Mangold are the biggest culprits. Mangold caught McKnight taking a nap in the trainer’s room this week, and soon it was on the Internet for the world to see.
“Lazy mcbones aka @smcknight21” Mangold wrote along with a photo of a sleeping McKnight.
“In between meetings a guy tries to catch a 10-minute nap while he gets therapy and Nick puts it on Twitter,” McKnight said. “People are calling me and texting me, like, you took a nap today at practice. It was on some gossip website. I knew that coming in I was going to be the target because guys know me a little bit more.”
Mangold may win the award for the most creative use of Twitter to haze McKnight. He found a high school photo of McKnight with long hair and inserted the picture over Peter Brady’s head in The Brady Bunch.
“I’ve known Scotty since Mark has been here,” Mangold said. “Now ... Scotty is in the building for a purpose and not just hanging around. ... He’s doing a heck of a job. He’s got some speed. He’s real smart.”
While McKnight accepts the teasing from teammates, he is more sensitive to the perception people have outside of the Jets that he was drafted only because he and Sanchez have known each other since their Pop Warner days in Southern California.
As soon as the Jets drafted McKnight with the 227th pick overall, he heard the remarks he was Sanchez’s pick.
“If anything, I would use it as motivation,” McKnight said. “I think guys on the team know that I belong here. It’s not like no other team was talking to me and then the Jets came over to me and said, here, we’ll give you a favor. I think people saw what a business this NFL is with the lockout, and for people to realistically think that an organization would just give away a pick for a player they didn’t think they could help them in any phase of the game, I think that just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”
McKnight is learning about life as a pro, the good and bad. When McKnight signed his contract, he posted on Twitter how excited he was to officially be a Jet. It didn’t take long for Mangold to reply, “@smcknight21 ... now you can ‘officially’ go get me some coffee, rook.”
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Keller And Mangold Giving The Business To Scotty Mcknight
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