Mark takes mulligan on contract comment

March, 15, 2012
3/15/12
11:32
PM ET
Some leftovers from a 25-minute interview with Mark Sanchez, who sat down with beat writers Thursday before a charity event in Manhattan (click it here for the news story):

• Sanchez said he regretted his choice of words last Friday night during a conference call with reporters. Discussing his new contract that night, he equated salary to leadership, saying the new deal "gives the team just a reminder that I'm the leader of this team." He took some criticism for it. He explained.

"I wasn’t happy with the way I phrased that," he said. "I was excited about the new deal, and it came out wrong." He acknowledged that leadership has to be earned.

• He gave a detailed explanation on why he feels like the offense lost its identity. He said they started out last season employing a three-WR offense, with a zone running style -- departures from the past.

"We didn’t have that identity like we wanted, like we had the first two years," Sanchez said. "We had a great downhill running team, we had a quarterback who could move, we could get out on the edge when we needed to, we could take shots downfield, solid intermediate passing game, play action ... and go from there."

• He commented on LaDainian Tomlinson's TV interview in which the future Hall of Fame said he'd never been around a locker room with so much discord. Sanchez said he didn't harbor any ill feelings toward Tomlinson.

"I just don’t think we handled a lot of criticism the right way," he said. "It’s not easy. Guys weren’t used to that. It was new. It was a new experience for a lot of people. As frustrating as it was, I think it was a good experience. I know guys learned a lot from it."

• Sanchez said he spoke to QB Greg McElroy about the "corrupt mindset" comments that created a firestorm in January. Sounds like Sanchez put him in his place.

"Greg got a little ahead of himself," he said. "I think he tried to analyze the situation and he had some strong feelings on it apparently. We’ll give him a hard time when he gets back." (laughing)

• He indirectly addressed the remarks made the other day by Chargers free-agent RB Mike Tolbert, who said in a radio interview he wouldn't sign with the Jets because of the circus atmosphere that surrounds the team.

"The last two offseasons, everybody wanted to come here," he said. "Now we don’t play as well last year and now some guys are outspoken about it, and it’s suddenly not a good place? We have to keep it in perspective … From the outside perception, I'm sure it did look a little hectic here, but that’s what happens when guys are outspoken about some of the negative things that go on in the organization."

• Sanchez said he was riding through Times Square when he learned the Bills had signed DE Mario Williams to a six-year, $100 million contract. He called LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson, telling his blind-side protector: "Get ready, dude"

• Sanchez said he planned to call free-agent WR Jerricho Cotchery, presumably to recruit him. He called Cotchery one of the best players and one of the best people he's ever been around.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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