Neck injury ends Jets LB Izzo's season, possibly his career

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets placed veteran linebacker and special-teams ace Larry Izzo on season-ending injured reserve Thursday with a herniated disk in his neck that could end his NFL career.

Jets coach Rex Ryan said Izzo believed he was getting stingers in his neck, but it turned out to be more severe. Ryan said Izzo saw a spine specialist and had several tests done to determine the nature of the injury.

It was unclear when the injury initially occurred, but Izzo had played in every game this season.

"He would get his strength up enough to where he thought he could play," Ryan said. "I don't know exactly when, and I'm not sure he knows."

Jets special-teams coordinator Mike Westhoff said the pain shot from Izzo's neck down his right arm and hindered his play. Ryan said Izzo likely would need surgery if he plans to keep playing and indicated that the veteran's career could be over.

"It was tough to see," Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said. "He kept saying, 'This isn't the way I wanted it to end.' You could just tell that with his warrior mentality, he wanted to go out fighting."

Izzo, who signed a one-year deal with the Jets during the offseason, was tied with Eric Smith for the team lead with 18 special-teams tackles. He has 275 special-teams tackles in 200 games with the Jets, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins in 14 NFL seasons.

The Jets also signed linebacker Josh Mauga and center Michael Parenton to the practice squad. Both spent time with the Jets during training camp before being among the team's final cuts.

The Jets lost defensive tackle Antonio Garay earlier Thursday when the San Diego Chargers signed him off the practice squad.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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