New York Jets: Mark Sanchez

Jets' top play winner: The Butt Fumble

July, 11, 2014
Mark SanchezWilliam Perlman/USA TODAY Sports
Score: New England Patriots 49, New York Jets 19
Date: Nov. 22, 2012. Site: MetLife Stadium

The people have spoken. The voters picked the Butt Fumble as the New York Jets' most memorable play. My take? Give yourselves a round of applause.

"Memorable" doesn't mean the best, it means something that will be remembered. If the objective was to determine the best play, it would've been Joe Namath-to-Don Maynard in the 1968 AFL Championship Game or Ken O'Brien-to-Wesley Walker in the 1986 classic against the Miami Dolphins. Those were tremendous plays displaying great skill and poise under pressure. We could probably add a few more to a great-play list. Truth be told, the franchise's most iconic image is that of Namath, flashing the No. 1 sign as he trots off the field at Super Bowl III -- a picture that transcends a simple photo caption.

But like I said, we're talking memorable plays here, folks.


Which is the most memorable play in Jets' history?


Discuss (Total votes: 37,787)

The Butt Fumble will be talked about for years, decades probably. It will have a permanent place in blooper lore. Who knows? Maybe some day you will see it featured on an ESPN Films "30 for 30" documentary. The play contained the necessary ingredients to endure the test of time. You had a big-name player (Mark Sanchez), a slapstick moment (Sanchez crashing into the buttocks of guard Brandon Moore), a significant outcome (a fumble recovery for a touchdown), a national stage (Thanksgiving night, 2012) and two bitter rivals, the Jets and the New England Patriots.

The ramifications of the Butt Fumble were significant. It fueled an epic meltdown in the second quarter, which led to an embarrassing loss, which all but ruined the Jets' playoff hopes and led to the demise of general manager Mike Tannenbaum.

Oh, did we mention the hilarity of the play?

In many ways, the legend of the Butt Fumble was enhanced by the social-media landscape. It blew up on Twitter and YouTube, and ESPN contributed by playing it over and over and over. It topped the "Not Top 10" list for 40 consecutive weeks before it was mercifully retired. Of course, the fans voted, so don't place all the blame on us. The point is, if Namath had run into Randy Rasmussen's rear end in 1968, the fallout wouldn't have been anything close to the Butt Fumble.

I was there for the other two nominees, Dan Marino's fake spike in 1994 and Jumbo Elliott's improbable touchdown catch in 2000. The impact of Marino's play can't be overstated because it shattered the psychologically fragile Jets, who never won again that season, costing Pete Carroll his job. I was happy for Carroll when he won the Super Bowl last February at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, where the fake spike occurred in the old Giants Stadium. Elliott's touchdown was a terrific moment, no doubt, but I don't consider it an all-timer.

Anyway, the fans got it right. It had to be the Butt Fumble. Anything else would've been a butt ... well, you know.

Jets' top plays: The Butt Fumble

July, 9, 2014
Mark SanchezWilliam Perlman/USA TODAY Sports
» VOTE HERE » NFC Plays: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

This is one of three plays nominated as the most memorable play in New York Jets history. Previously, we featured Dan Marino's infamous fake spike against the Jets in 1994 and Jumbo Elliott's improbable touchdown catch in 2000. Please vote for your choice as the Jets' most memorable play.

Score: New England Patriots 49, New York Jets 19
Date: Nov. 22, 2012 Site: MetLife Stadium


Which is the most memorable play in Jets' history?


Discuss (Total votes: 37,787)

The mere mention of the play -- "The Butt Fumble" -- causes people to smile. You can't help it; it just sounds funny -- unless, of course, you're a diehard Jets fan. Or Mark Sanchez and Brandon Moore.

On Thanksgiving night, before a national TV audience, the Jets staged a botched play that became an instant YouTube sensation, a blooper for the ages. After all, how many plays have their own Wikipedia page?

It was supposed to be an inside handoff to the fullback, Lex Hilliard, but Sanchez turned the wrong way as he stepped away from the center. Trying to salvage something, he tucked the ball and ran toward his right side of his offensive line. When the hole closed, Sanchez did the right thing: He slid. Incredibly, he slid into the rear end of right guard Brandon Moore, who was trying to fight off the Patriots' massive defensive tackle, Vince Wilfork.

Sanchez crashed into Moore's buttocks with such force that it jarred the ball loose. Naturally, Moore fell on top of Sanchez, almost completing the slapstick moment. But there was more: The ball bounced up for Patriots safety Steve Gregory, who made the scoop-and-score, returning it 32 yards for a touchdown. Sanchez later said the entire play was like "a car accident."

The short- and long-term ramifications were significant. The Jets entered the game with a 4-6 record, hoping to jump back into the race with a win against their top rival. It was scoreless after one quarter, but the Butt Fumble helped fuel an epic second-quarter meltdown. Gregory's touchdown made it 21-0, and it became 28-0 seconds later when the Patriots' Julian Edelman recovered a mid-air fumble on the ensuing kickoff and returned it for a score.

By halftime, it was 35-3. It was so embarrassing that "Fireman Ed," the Jets' celebrity fan, walked out on the game and his beloved team at the half. He has yet to return to the stadium for a game. The loss ruined the Jets' playoff chances, prompting owner Woody Johnson to fire general manager Mike Tannenbaum at the end of the season. Some people feel the Butt Fumble game sealed Tannenbaum's fate.

The play defined a lost season and the Jets' long and hapless effort to overtake the Patriots. It remained in the national consciousness, thanks to ESPN's "SportsCenter." Voted by fans online, the play led the "Not top-10" blooper reel for 40 straight weeks before it was mercifully retired.

Sanchez would've been 'excited' to return

March, 28, 2014
Mark Sanchez, introduced Friday as the newest member of the Philadelphia Eagles, took no parting shots at the New York Jets. In fact, he said he wanted to return.

"I told them I was excited to be back if that was the plan," Sanchez told a news conference at the Eagles' facility. "If that wasn't the plan, absolutely no hard feelings. I had an incredible run there. We had an incredible run, more importantly.

"Some incredible times. Fun playoff races, come-from-behind wins, that kind of stuff. ... A couple of AFC Championship runs. Some special, special times. The toughest part of all is we didn't win it all. There was always that competitive drive to get back there. Having tasted that success, we wanted to just finish the job. If that wasn't the case, that's fine, just let me know as soon as possible and both sides would move on accordingly."

Actually, the Jets took their time, waiting until last Friday -- three days before a $2 million roster bonus was triggered -- before releasing him. They waited until they signed Michael Vick. The Jets broached the possibility of re-working his contract, which carried a $13.1 million cap charge, but they never got around to making a specific proposal, a source said.

In the end, Sanchez and Vick traded places.

"I think we passed each other on the train, gave each other a high five [and said], 'Good luck,'" Sanchez joked.

Sanchez signed a one-year, $2.25 million contract, with a chance to earn $4 million if he maxes out his playing-time incentives.

He sidestepped a question on whether the Eagles' offensive staff, led by coach Chip Kelly, would be a better fit than the staff at the Jets.

"I have to be careful with my answer," he said. "I have only good memories of my time with Jets. Was it perfect? Absolutely not. It's not going to be perfect here. I'm just excited about moving forward."

Sanchez said he still has pictures and game balls from his early success with the Jets, adding, "That stuff never goes away. It was an amazing time, an amazing experience for me and my family and my community, everybody back home. I'm not going to compare the two [teams]."

For a change, no pressure on Sanchez

March, 28, 2014
A few takeways on former New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez signing with the Philadelphia Eagles:

1. Money matters: In the Jets-Eagles quarterback swap, the Jets ended up paying almost twice as much for Vick (one year, $4 million) as the Eagles did for Sanchez (one year, $2.25 million). Sanchez can earn another $1.75 million in playing-time incentives, but he'd have to play 90 percent of the offensive snaps to bring his total to $4 million. It amounts to a massive pay cut for Sanchez, who was to make $11.5 million this season under his Jets' contract -- none of which he will receive. The NFL can be a cruel business. If the Jets hadn't signed Vick, they likely would have tried to re-work Sanchez's deal, offering something similar to what he got in Philly.

2. Stress-free environment: At this point in free agency, Sanchez didn't have many attractive options, but this move makes sense. After five years in the New York crucible, he goes to a non-pressure situation, backing up Nick Foles. He can continue to rehab his surgically repaired throwing shoulder, learn Chip Kelly's system and work himself back into form -- just in case he needs to play. Being around an offensive guru such as Kelly can only help Sanchez, who could benefit from fresh coaching techniques. It could get his career turned around after two disappointing seasons.

3. Quarterback controversy? No, not really, but Sanchez absolutely believes he still can start in the NFL. Foles won the job last season with a brilliant performance (a 119.2 passer rating), but he has only 16 career starts and has missed time due to injuries in three of the past four seasons. In other words, it's not like Sanchez is playing behind Tom Brady. Even if he rides the bench for a year, Sanchez can rehabilitate his battered image and look for a starting gig elsewhere in 2015. If he gets on the field, he'll be surrounded by top skill-position talent, something he didn't have with the Jets.

4. No homecoming: The Jets don't have the NFC East on their 2014 schedule, but they always play the Eagles in the preseason finale. As a backup, Sanchez figures to see significant action. Unfortunately, it's at Lincoln Financial Field, not MetLife Stadium. That would have been really interesting.

Sanchez arrives in Philly to complete deal

March, 26, 2014
Former New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez moved one step closer to becoming a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, arriving Wednesday night in Philadelphia to wrap up a contract, according to a league source.

Before the deal is complete, the Eagles will examine Sanchez's surgically repaired throwing shoulder. Assuming his shoulder checks out, the two sides will move quickly toward a contract. Everything fell into place Monday, when ESPN Senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen reported that Sanchez would sign with the Eagles.

UPDATE: The Eagles have confirmed that Sanchez has signed a one-year contract.

Sanchez, who was released last Friday by the Jets, will become a backup to Eagles starter Nick Foles. Sanchez is said to be about 80 percent healthy, but he's making good progress and should be ready for late-spring practices.

The Sanchez tattoo? Don't ask Rex

March, 25, 2014
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."

Mark Sanchez thanks Jets and their fans

March, 24, 2014
Former New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, who was released Friday night, tweeted a link to an open letter "To New York, New Jersey and Jets fans everywhere" on Monday morning.

Sanchez wrote "We shared some incredible moments together that I'll never forget" and that he "gave everything I had to win the Lombardi Trophy.

"I only regret that we couldn't bring it home for all of us to share, especially for those guys in the locker room and for my friend Aiden."

That was a reference to Aiden Binkley, who formed a friendship with Sanchez during the young fan's struggle with a rare form of cancer. Aiden died on Dec. 30, 2010.

Report: Rams interested in Sanchez

March, 24, 2014
Former New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has been unemployed for only three days, but he already knows there will be at least one suitor for his service -- the St. Louis Rams.

"I'd say that there is interest," Rams coach Jeff Fisher told USA Today Sunday at the owners meetings in Orlando. "I can't say how much. But there certainly would be interest. I don't have a backup with experience on the roster right now."

The Rams make sense on a number of levels. Starter Sam Bradford is coming off ACL surgery, his backup is the inexperienced Austin Davis and the coordinator is Brian Schottenheimer -- yep, that Brian Schottenheimer. He was the Jets' coordinator for Sanchez's first three seasons in the league. It also doesn't hurt that Fisher and Sanchez are USC alums.

Sanchez, in the final stages of his recovery from shoulder surgery, is expected to take his time before making a decision. The Jets cut Sanchez last Friday after five seasons with the team.

What's next for Mark Sanchez?

March, 22, 2014
Because the New York Jets took nearly two weeks to sort out their quarterback situation, Mark Sanchez missed out on the choice quarterback vacancies in the NFL. No fewer than 10 teams have signed or re-signed veterans, shrinking the market. Sanchez will land somewhere, but it probably won't be in a situation in which he'd have a chance to win the starting job. Those gigs are gone.

A look at the top possibilities:

1. St. Louis Rams: Sanchez has a connection with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, his first coordinator with the Jets. Sam Bradford is coming off ACL surgery, and their only backup is Austin Davis.

2. Chicago Bears: Jay Cutler is locked in as the starter, but the Bears don't have an experienced backup. Sanchez's first quarterback coach, Matt Cavanaugh, has the same position with the Bears.

3. Cleveland Browns: The Browns say they like Brian Hoyer, but he's their only experienced quarterback. They reportedly showed some interest in Matt Schaub before he was traded to the Oakland Raiders. The Browns could draft one, possibly with the No. 4 overall pick. The Sanchez connection here is coach Mike Pettine, formerly the Jets' defensive coordinator.

4. Buffalo Bills: It's EJ Manuel and a bunch of question marks. Come to think of it, Manuel is a question mark, too.

5. Seattle Seahawks: Sanchez's old college coach, Pete Carroll, re-signed Tarvaris Jackson as Russell Wilson's backup, but he could provide a landing spot if Sanchez strikes out elsewhere.
Mark Sanchez will be remembered for one play -- a bizarre, comical, inexplicable, can't-believe-what-we-just-saw play.

The Butt Fumble.

And that's too bad because when you look back at his five seasons with the New York Jets, the costliest drop of the ball was committed by the organization itself.

For the way it failed to develop Sanchez.

Call it an Utter Fumble.

To understand what went wrong, you have to go back to the beginning. Sanchez was a raw, somewhat immature kid when he arrived from USC in 2009, but he stepped into a huddle filled with smart, tough and experienced teammates. Guys such as Thomas Jones, Damien Woody, Alan Faneca, Tony Richardson, Jerricho Cotchery and Brandon Moore.

It was a ready-made team good enough to win games with a not-so-ready quarterback. The chemistry worked for two years -- two almost-championship seasons. By 2011, Sanchez was ready to make it his team (or so we thought), but the talent around him got old and the whole thing started to sink.

The sinking went on for two seasons, plus a lost year in the trainer's room, and there he was Friday, receiving his walking papers from the franchise that once seemed perfect for him.

What a shame.

The timing never was right for Sanchez. When it was time for him to go from little brother to head of the family, his supporting cast was virtually gone. The front office didn't do a good job of replenishing the talent, sticking him with Plaxico Burress and LaDainian Tomlinson -- both diminished players -- and the diva of all divas, Santonio Holmes.

The worst move came before the 2012 season. After a fleeting and ill-fated attempt to recruit Peyton Manning, a courtship that lasted as long as a burp, the Jets professed their faith in Sanchez by giving him a three-year contract extension even though he still had two years on his rookie deal. But that wasn't the bad part. That came a few days later with the news that Tim Tebow was coming in a trade.

It was the beginning of the end for Sanchez. Even though Tebow never posed a serious threat as a quarterback, his presence -- and the distraction -- altered the team dynamic and undermined Sanchez. Let's face it: Sanchez crumbled under the pressure. After Tebow was gone, Sanchez admitted, "I just don't know if it was the best situation for either of us."

Translation: The Tebow trade was an unmitigated disaster for everybody.

That season, 2012, was critical for Sanchez because he still had a chance to recapture his Wonder Boy image. But the Tebow soap opera, coupled with a hiring of a coordinator who had no expertise with quarterbacks (hello and goodbye, Tony Sparano), proved too much to overcome.

For practical purposes, Sanchez's career with the Jets ended on that apocalyptic night in Tennessee -- Dec. 17, 2012, when he committed five turnovers and was informed after the game that he no longer was the starter.

Sanchez was exposed that season -- and, really, in parts of 2011 -- as a system quarterback reliant on a strong running game and a powerful defense. He was incapable, either with his personality or physical skill, of elevating the team. Only a handful of quarterbacks can do that, and he doesn't belong in that group of transcendent players.

Some former teammates say Sanchez carried himself with a sense of entitlement, perhaps born of the silver-spoon treatment he received from the organization. He was coddled and never challenged, behaving as if it were his birthright to be the starting quarterback of the Jets. In retrospect, maybe he was a victim of his early success.

But let's be frank: Sanchez had to go. Some might argue the Jets should've reworked his contract, based on the premise that you don't jettison a 27-year-old quarterback with four playoff wins on his résumé, but that Sanchez is gone. In his last 18 starts for the Jets, he went 6-12 with 25 interceptions, turning the fan base against him.

"He can't play in that stadium anymore," a longtime front-office executive said last week. "To me, he's done. The Jets would probably help their popularity with the fans by getting rid of him."

And now they have, with Sanchez becoming the latest on a growing scrap heap of quarterbacks who failed to become The Next Joe Namath.

It's sad because it didn't have to be this way. Sanchez has talent. Anybody who witnessed his six playoff games, especially the two conference championships and that magical divisional win at New England, knows he has the physical ability to do the job.

But the whole thing got messy and complicated because the organization failed to develop its most important asset. Rex Ryan kept drafting defensive players, building his beloved defense and letting his quarterback -- the Sanchize -- erode with the rest of the offense.

The final indignity occurred last August, when Ryan inserted Sanchez into the fourth quarter of a preseason game for no good reason -- unless you buy his half-baked explanation that he was trying to win the game. The unthinkable happened, as Sanchez blew out his throwing shoulder.

Done for the season. Done with the Jets.

In the end, he was treated like a backup by an organization that once considered him a star before he was. It never would've gotten to this point if the Jets had only given him a better chance to actually be a star.
A few thoughts on the New York Jets' signing free-agent quarterback Michael Vick, who received a one-year, $5 million contract:

1. The right move: The Jets couldn't afford to leave themselves vulnerable at quarterback the way they did last season. They needed Geno Smith insurance, and Vick provides that. Going on 34, he's not the Vick of 2010, but he's still capable of winning games, if healthy. People forget he beat out Nick Foles last summer for the Philadelphia Eagles' starting job, eventually relinquishing it when he got hurt. General manager John Idzik, recognizing that Mark Sanchez has reached his New York expiration date, brought in the best available replacement. This cemented Sanchez's ouster.

2. Ready, set, compete: Obviously, the brass wants Smith to succeed, building on his promising finish last season, but this will probably be presented as an open competition. It'll make for a compelling training-camp battle: the talented, but unpolished, Smith versus the cagey vet looking for one last shot at glory. It brings back memories of Vinny Testaverde's arrival in 1998. If Smith buckles under the pressure, it'll tell the organization he's not their guy. Their hope is that Vick's presence, on and off the field, will elevate Smith to a higher level. They believe Vick can mentor Smith; he wouldn't have received that from Sanchez.

3. The Marty Factor: This doesn't happen without Marty Mornhinweg, the offensive coordinator. Because of Mornhinweg, the Jets had "inside knowledge" of Vick, according to Idzik. They wouldn't have signed one of the most polarizing players in NFL history if they didn't have someone on staff who knows Vick and what makes him tick. Mornhinweg and Vick spent four years together in Philadelphia from 2009 to 2012. His familiarity with Mornhinweg's system is another plus. It should make for a seamless transition, another reason for Smith to worry about his job. You can't accuse the Jets of babying Smith, a la Sanchez.

4. Potential risks: Vick's checkered past -- nearly two years in jail for his involvement in a dogfighting ring -- will surely be dredged up at the outset, perhaps even causing animal-rights activists to protest, but it will die down as long as Vick continues to carry himself in a mature fashion. This won't be similar to the Tim Tebow circus. Football wise, yes, it could spark a quarterback controversy, but it's worth the risk, especially for coach Rex Ryan, who might not survive another playoff-less season. Bottom line: Vick upgrades the position.

5. Depth chart: It means that Matt Simms, the No. 2 quarterback, will be knocked down to third string. The Jets like his potential, but they could draft a quarterback in the later rounds to provide competition.

6. Is D-Jax next?: The Jets reportedly inquired about Vick's former teammate, wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who is said to be on the trading block. A lot of people are connecting the dots, speculating this means they will pursue Jackson, but the Jets were interested in Vick before Jackson became available. Trading for Jackson, who has a huge contract and character issues, would be a serious curveball by Idzik.

Vick, Sanchez and musical chairs at QB

March, 21, 2014
Somewhere in SoCal or New Jersey, Mark Sanchez must be fuming, wondering where he will play football in 2014 if/when he gets cut by the New York Jets. As the slow-moving John Idzik prepares to meet Friday night with free agent Michael Vick, the most experienced quarterback on the roster is twisting in the wind, watching the number of potential landing spots dwindle.

In the last 24 hours, Ryan Fitzpatrick signed with the Houston Texans, who are now in the process of trading Matt Schaub to the Oakland Raiders, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. The Texans and Raiders were thought to be possible destinations for Sanchez.

No fewer than 10 teams have signed or re-signed veteran quarterbacks, leaving few options for Sanchez. The Jets don't have to make a decision until Monday, because he receives a $2 million roster bonus if he's still on the team after Monday.

Idzik is taking his sweet time, letting the market come to him. It stinks for Sanchez, who isn't permitted to speak to other teams, but it may work out for the Jets in terms of negotiating leverage with Vick -- and perhaps Sanchez, if it comes to that. The Jets could be the only team left offering a competitive quarterback situation.

We should point out that, in an interview Friday with SNY, Rex Ryan said, "Make no mistake about it, Geno Smith is going to be hard to beat out, no matter who we add." That was simply a verbal pat on the back for Smith, who might be wondering about his status with all the speculation about Vick. The truth is, it would be an open competition. Obviously, the organization wants Smith to succeed, but there's a reason why they haven't named him the starter.

At that the same time, Vick knows there's a short supply of quality quarterbacks on the market, so he can try to use that to his advantage. Meanwhile, the Jets are holding on to Sanchez to strengthen their perceived leverage, perhaps presenting him to the Vick camp as a fallback option. If they fail to sign Vick, their options would be Sanchez (if he takes a pay cut), Josh Freeman, Rex Grossman, Shaun Hill, Matt Flynn ... do we need to go on?

For the next 72 hours, it'll be a big poker game between the Jets, Vick and Sanchez.

Ex-Jets QB McElroy retires at 25

March, 21, 2014
Former New York Jets quarterback Greg McElroy, best known in Jets Nation as the guy that started ahead of Tim Tebow when Mark Sanchez was benched, announced his retirement Friday on Twitter.

[+] EnlargeGreg McElroy
AP Photo/Kathy WillensPlaying in two games for his NFL career, QB Greg McElroy had one touchdown, one interception and one fumble -- all with the Jets.
McElroy, only 25, spent last season on the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad and is currently under contract to the Bengals.

"At this time, I would like to announce my retirement from the NFL," McElroy tweeted. "Thank you to Marvin Lewis, the Brown family and the entire Cincinnati Bengals' organization. The fans make this decision especially difficult, as you have provided so much joy throughout my career. Playing in the NFL was my lifelong dream; therefore, I must also thank the New York Jets for providing me with my original opportunity. The future is bright, and exciting things are on the horizon! God bless to all."

McElroy, who led Alabama to a 14-0 record and the BCS championship as a junior, was a seventh-round pick of the Jets in 2011. He was thrown into the three-ring, quarterback circus in 2012, when they had Sanchez and Tebow. McElroy's shot was fleeting. On Dec. 2, he replaced an ineffective Sanchez and helped the Jets to a come-from-behind win against the Arizona Cardinals in quite possibly the ugliest game ever played.

Three weeks later, the Jets' quarterback controversy exploded when Sanchez was benched and McElroy -- not Tebow -- was named to start against the San Diego Chargers. McElroy was battered in the loss, as he was sacked 11 times. He suffered a concussion, but it wasn't diagnosed until a few days later, prompting Rex Ryan to replace him with Sanchez for the finale. McElroy, perhaps knowing he'd never get another chance to prove himself, wasn't forthcoming with regard to the concussion symptoms.

He lost his third-string job last summer to Matt Simms. As a member of the Bengals' practice squad, McElroy received a shout out from the coaching staff for preparing a detailed scouting report on the Jets, which they used in Week 8 -- a 49-9 win by the Bengals.

His final NFL statistics: Two games, 19-for-31, 214 yards, one touchdown, one interception.

McElroy, who posted one of the highest Wonderlic scores in history, is exceptionally bright and has talked about a career in TV or politics. His transition to the "real world" should be seamless. Like he said, the future is bright.

Jets' not-so-old gang is dwindling

March, 10, 2014
You've heard this a thousand times: The NFL stands for Not For Long, and that theory certainly applies to the 2010 New York Jets.

With Antonio Cromartie's release Sunday, only 11 players remain from the team that lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game (we're including free agents). That total is sure to shrink in the coming days. By the time we reach Week 1, it could be only seven holdovers.

A look at the Gang of 11:

Not going anywhere:

D'Brickashaw Ferguson, left tackle

Nick Mangold, center

David Harris, linebacker

Jeff Cumberland, tight end

Nick Folk, kicker (franchise tag)

Tanner Purdum, long snapper

Kyle Wilson, cornerback

Free agents:

Calvin Pace, linebacker

Vladimir Ducasse, guard/tackle

Likely cap casualties:

Mark Sanchez, quarterback

Santonio Holmes, wide receiver

Twitter mailbag: Sanchez market shrinking

March, 8, 2014
We're starting something new this week. Actually, it's not a new concept, we're just playing a little catch-up. It's a weekly Twitter "mailbag" with your questions about the New York Jets. Without further delay ...