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The Jets’ Pretend Circus Has (Not Really) Begun

If you haven't been at your home and/or not watching ESPN during the day this week, you might not know that the "SportsCenter" cameras are broadcasting live from Cortland this week, training camp home of your New York Jets. Ron Jaworski and Sal Paolantonio are "reporting" live, and whole segments of the show feature pad-less Jets players jogging. (It is not necessarily the most thrilling television.) Even the idiots from "First Take" have made it into town. Coach Rex Ryan invited them all, and you know what that means: It's time for another episode of "all the publicity is tearing this team apaahhhhhht!"

So here's how this week's fake controversy happened. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie went on "First Take" a couple of days ago — being a guest on that show must be like being trapped in an elevator between two colicky babies with rabies — and claimed, half-jokingly, that on offense he would be the second-best wide receiver on the team. Wide receiver Chaz Schilens "took umbrage" — we consider it a sign of our faux-outrage times just how often that phrase gets used these days — and whammo: The Jets are at each others' throats!

Seriously, Rich Cimini says so:

They haven't been here a week, and already the Jets are showing signs of fracturing. On most teams, you could dismiss the gripes, chalking it up to a bad day, but this is a team that finished last season with a broken locker room. Ryan admitted after the season he had no clue, saying he "lost the pulse of the team." That's why his put-his-foot-down moment was so important. It was an early message by Ryan, telling everybody — media, fans, players — it's not going to happen again. A few hours later, he addressed the matter in the team meeting, a source confirmed ... Ryan could use some magic. He needs to make these problems disappear.

We know this is New York and this is just how things work around here. But honestly: This is the smallest pile of small beans. This is actually just one bean. Wide receiver says cornerback is wrong about his wide receiving skills. The team is splintering! Does anyone think anyone is going to remember this "story" in, oh, an hour? There will be claims that Ryan invited this by allowing ESPN so much access to his camp ... but there is a difference between ribbing Ryan for his love of publicity and making up fake fights just to prove some narrative you're hoping occurs.

Though maybe we're wrong. Maybe Chaz Schilens is the engine of chaos on the Jets, and when we turn on the television from camp tomorrow, Mark Sanchez will be stabbing Tim Tebow in the eye with a fork. We do suppose it's possible. Though now that we think about it ... maybe we'll just leave the television off tomorrow.

Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images