Rookie placed on non-football injury list

NEW YORK (AP) Jets rookie running back Joe McKnight failed his conditioning run Thursday and was placed on the active non-football injury list.

The Jets also placed backup quarterback Erik Ainge on the reserve-non football injury list with an undisclosed illness. He won’t count against the team’s 80-player roster limit for training camp.

McKnight, the team’s fourth-round pick out of Southern California, struggled with his conditioning during rookie minicamp in May – sitting out a few plays while vomiting on the field. He vowed to get in better shape, and appeared to be fine in minicamp last month.

He is still part of the 80-man roster, but can’t practice with the team until he passes the conditioning test.

New York traded two picks to Carolina to move up to take McKnight. His presence made Leon Washington expendable, and the Jets dealt the former Pro Bowl kick returner to Seattle.

Ainge is competing with Kellen Clemens, Mark Brunell and Kevin O’Connell for a backup spot behind starter Mark Sanchez. A preseason standout the last two summers, Ainge has had his share of issues since being drafted in the fifth round out of Tennessee two years ago.

His rookie season was a wash after he hurt his right foot and was placed on injured reserve midway through the year. Then came a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on steroids and related substances.

Ainge also missed part of the team’s voluntary workouts last year for personal reasons. It’s uncertain when Ainge might return to the team.

The Jets also signed safety Emanuel Cook, who was with the team last summer before being cut and later signed to Tampa Bay’s practice squad. New York also waived linebacker Ezra Butler.

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