NEWARK, N.J. -- Mark Sanchez didn't receive Pete Carroll's blessing when he left USC as an underclassman, but he received an endorsement Tuesday from his old college coach.
The Seattle Seahawks' coach, speaking at Super Bowl XLVIII media day, believes the New York Jets' former starting quarterback can rebound from his 2013 washout and become a productive player again in the league.
"Mark has everything ahead of him," Carroll said. "As often happens when you get the break, when you get to take a step back and observe and analyze and assess what's going on, you come back even stronger. I think that's what will happen with Mark. Hopefully, for him, it'll happen in New York. Wherever he winds up after that, if that doesn't work out, Mark is a good football player. I think he'll be better than ever."
Maybe Carroll and Sanchez will be reunited. Hey, you never know.
Sanchez, who missed the entire season because of surgery on his throwing shoulder, faces an uncertain future with the Jets, especially with Geno Smith's encouraging finish. Sanchez is under contract through 2016, but his current salary-cap charge ($13.1 million) is prohibitive. They may try to trade him before March 25, when a $2 million roster bonus is due. Failing that, they probably would release him. They'd clear $8.3 million in cap room by parting ways. Sanchez has said he'd like to return, but he'd have to take a significent pay cut -- and he may not be willing to do that, forcing the Jets' hand.
Carroll could be looking for a quarterback because his backup, Tarvaris Jackson, will be a free agent. Carroll is a longtime admirer of Sanchez, but he was publicly critical of Sanchez's decision to turn pro after the 2008 season.