CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The labor strife between the NFL's players and owners wasn't lost on free agent quarterback Chad Pennington, even if the former Marshall University star won't play this season.
Pennington spoke in front of more than 150 fans, friends and family during the Fellowship of Christian Athletes banquet at St. Timothy Lutheran Church on Thursday.
The first-round pick of the New York Jets in 2000 is spending part of the summer vacationing in a motor home, opting out of flying to his engagement at the Lawndale Lane location.
In fact, he was caught in traffic in Bluefield, but arrived in plenty of time for the 7:30 p.m. dinner.
"I'm actually going to take this year off, get healthy and do some work for Fox Sports," said Pennington, the NFL's only two-time Comeback Player of the Year.
"I'm going to evaluate things and see where I am physically."
He's had four shoulder injuries, a fractured hand and an ankle sprain - all suffered in games, during his 11-year NFL career. He began the 2009 season as the Dolphins' starter in his second year in Miami, but tore his shoulder capsule in the third game of the season on Sept. 27. His 2010 season was ended on the first play of the first game when he suffered a severe shoulder injury.
"It seems like I majored in that (injury comebacks)," said Pennington, who will turn 35 years old on June 26. "I'm trying to get away from that. It seems to follow me around."
His latest affliction came off the field - while playing pickup basketball - but was a microcosm of his post-Marshall career, during which he broke records for passing yardage (13,143), completions (1,026) and attempts (1,619) in four seasons.
In the NFL, he has thrown for 17,823 yards with 102 touchdowns and 64 interceptions, but has played only two full seasons - 2006 and 2008 when he was Comeback Player of the Year - and averaged only eight games per season during his career. He's the league's all-time leader in completion percentage (66 percent) among quarterbacks with a minimum of 1,500 attempts.
"(Playing basketball) was just a dumb decision," Pennington said. "I was in town in March, doing some (1st and 10) Foundation work and decided to play in a pickup basketball game and tore my ACL. I haven't played (football), I wasn't training real hard at the time because I was doing some shoulder rehab, and my legs weren't ready to play basketball, so it was just dumb.