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Pete Carroll talks about Mark Sanchez's welcome-to-the-NFL moment

August 26, 2009 |  9:58 am

Caroll_240 Mark Sanchez's performance against the Baltimore Ravens on "Monday Night Football" was apparently good enough to earn the former USC quarterback a starting job with the New York Jets.

Sanchez got hit hard by linebacker Ray Lewis, had his first pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown and barely missed having another pass picked off.

But he finished with a touchdown pass, impressing USC Coach Pete Carroll.

"He got banged around a little bit by big Ray -- what a great introduction to what the league can be like," Carroll said, chuckling.

Carroll, a former head coach of the Jets and New England Patriots, spoke to Sanchez late Monday night.

"He was grateful he made it out and made a little progress," Carroll said. "He was disappointed he didn't get off to a good start but it was a reality check. ... He got indoctrinated a little bit in a hurry there. He was real upbeat about it and all that, so it was fun to watch him in that setting.

"The cool thing is he realized by his performance that how you start isn't necessarily how you are. And he hung with it. He knew he had to get focused and stay in there and he did a good job and finished very strongly and accomplished something special in that regard."

-- Gary Klein

Photo: USC head coach Pete Caroll in Charlottesville, Va. last August. Photo credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times.