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Bruschi: I was wrong on Sanchez

In the days leading up to the game between the New England Patriots and New York Jets in September, ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi created a buzz when he called Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez a “front-runner.”

Jets coach Rex Ryan jumped to the defense of Sanchez in a story that made headlines in New York.

After watching Sanchez lead the Jets to a 9-2 record, bringing them back for some impressive late-game victories, Bruschi says he was off the mark.

His remarks came during his weekly podcast on ESPNBoston.com.

“I called him a front-runner and said that when things got a little bit tough, you could see the look on his face and it looked like he tanked it a little bit. Rex Ryan came out and reacted to my comments and said ‘If Tedy was here and saw how hard Mark Sanchez worked, he would see how much of a leader Mark Sanchez is.’

“Rex was right. I really have watched Mark Sanchez closely from that point on, and I was wrong about calling him a front-runner. I was wrong to put that label on him. I’ve watched him and the leader he’s become, and the plays he’s made for this 9-2 first-place Jets team.

“Early in the season, I thought this team would do well based on its running game and solid defense. But there is another aspect of this team that has developed – and that’s the leadership and play they’ve received from the quarterback position and Mark Sanchez. I think he is a legitimate leader on that team. My front-runner label was wrong.”