More from ex-Jets on Mark Sanchez
I've gotten a lot of feedback today on my story about former New York Jets quarterbacks offering advice and/or insights to USC's Mark Sanchez. Because of space limitations, I could only include so much in the article. But those players had a lot to say, so here's a bit more from them:
On Jets fans: "They don’t tolerate anything. I remember when Santa Claus was dropping in with a parachute and he missed the target and he got booed. That’s what he’s coming into. The New Yorkers, the Jersey guys, they don’t tolerate much. They spend their good money to watch you play, and they want to see good football.
"Raiders fans can’t touch Jets fans. I don’t care if it’s rain, sleet, snow, that stadium is packed always. And the insult comes always -- I’ve heard things I’ve never heard in my life. And coming from where I come from in Jersey, which is the slums, I was even shocked."
On the off-the-field distractions for Sanchez: "There won’t be a shortage of much for that dude. There won't be any shortage of people that want to get close to him and touch him. You’ve got a million friends. Literally, millions of friends. When you’re the quarterback in the Tri-State area, you have millions of friends. ... But when you’re up on top of the world, the fall is much shorter than you might think."
On Sanchez's recent appearance on Esiason's TV show: "I showed a tape of the last 10 or 12 quarterbacks of the New York Jets. He was looking at it intently, and then when we came out of the videotape it was like he was white as a ghost. I said, 'Mark, as the president of the New York Jet quarterback alumni association, I want to welcome you to the snake pit.’"
On Sanchez's confidence: "The other thing that strikes me about him is that both Pete Carroll and his dad wanted him to stay in school for one more year, and he was so confident and so sure of himself that he bucked the two most important men in his life -- his football life certainly -- and said he belongs in the NFL. And that in itself tells me something about him.
"Listening to him talk about Kellen Clemens and how there’s a potential minefield of problems and issues. But he’s basically said it’s a competition. All of that stuff leads me to believe that he is going to be, hopefully, the Jets’ long-term solution at quarterback."
Advice to Sanchez: "If I could tell him one thing, I’d tell him right now to pattern himself after Tom Brady and kind of shun some of the spotlight stuff until you actually get yourself established. The problem is going to be whoever his marketing agent is, and the competing and conflicting interests in a young football player’s life. I think that all of that other stuff will come in due time. But initially it will probably be a distraction of some sort that he’s not going to want to deal with, nor should he deal with.
"Whoever his marketing agent is is going to say, 'We have to go after this stuff right now,’ and I would never second-guess that because I believe that’s his right as a player who is obviously thought very highly of. But I would always caution to let that stuff come when you’re mature enough to handle it."
On the mentality of the Jets and their fans: "When we started sharing the stadium, it was almost as if we were second fiddle to the Giants because we were making the long commute from Long Island when we were traveling at Hofstra. They just want respect and a chance to win a championship. It’s just like that rainy cloud has been over the Jets for a period of time. Every year they get their hopes up. They get the new quarterback -- last year it was Brett Favre...
"It’s all about winning a championship for the Jets and their fans. As much as they’re hard fans, they’re also very knowledgeable fans. I always said that about the Raiders too -- they do their homework. They know all about each player and each team that comes in on Sunday."
On the difference between playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Jets: "If you’re winning on Sundays, you can go around Pittsburgh the rest of the week and you don’t need your wallet. Everything’s taken care of. In New York, it’s almost like you have to win that championship. The bar is set so high, you have to bring home that Lombardi Trophy."
-- Sam Farmer
Top photo: Jets rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez receives a personalized New York Mets jersey from Ryan Church, left, J.J. Putz, second from right, and David Wright, before throwing out the opening pitch at a Mets' baseball game against the Florida Marlins. Credit: John Dunn / Associated Press
Bottom photo: Mark Sanchez talks to reporters during rookie mini-camp at the Jets training center. Credit: Noah K. Murray / US Presswire