The Sanchez tattoo? Don't ask Rex

March, 25, 2014
Mar 25
1:00
PM ET
ORLANDO, Fla. -- So now that Mark Sanchez is an ex-Jet, the question on everybody's mind (OK, not everybody) is: What does Rex Ryan do with the infamous Sanchez tattoo on his upper-right arm?

[+] EnlargeRex Ryan, Mark Sanchez
AP Photo/Charles KrupaThe ultimate goal eluded Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez with the Jets.
Ryan responded with a sheepish look Tuesday morning when the question was posed to him during a sitdown with reporters at the NFL owners meetings.

"Guys, the tattoo is still there," he said, rolling up his sleeve to provide a partial peek. "I'm not going to say anything about the Sanchez tattoo. It was my tattoo and it's still my tattoo."

For those not familiar with Ryan's celebrated body art, the tattoo is an image of his wife wearing a Sanchez jersey. The tattoo was done back in the good old days, when Sanchez still was the Jets' franchise-type quarterback, but it didn't become a news item until January 2013, when he was photographed by a paparazzi on vacation in the Bahamas.

"I may alter it, who knows?" Ryan said. "I'm going to put 75 on it, to honor Winston Hill. That's the idea. That's what I'm going to do."

The Jets made the long-anticipated move last Friday, cutting ties with Sanchez after five seasons. Ryan claimed "there was always the possibility that Mark could've come back to our team," but I'm not buying that one. I think he was a goner, no matter what.

Ryan said it was difficult to release his former starter -- this from someone who once vowed that Sanchez would be his quarterback for as long as he coached the team. Ryan still believes Sanchez can be a starter in the league. It won't happen right away because he's expected to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he'd serve as a backup to Nick Foles.

"I hope he ends up in a good situation for him," said Ryan, commeting for the first time since Sanchez's release. "I hope it all works out for him. He's a tremendous young man. I have a lot of admiration for him. Obviously, I want him to do extremely well. With that being said, I don't want him in our division."

Ryan turned a bit nostalgic.

"I don't know if we were only rookie head coach and rookie quarterback to go to back-to-back championship games or not, but we're certainly on a small list," he said. "I think that's a pretty good accomplishment. He played a lot of good football. Unfortunately, people remember one play. Mark played well for us. We had some success, albeit not what we wanted -- ultimate success but we did have some success."

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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