Mark Sanchez OK with competition

Updated: April 16, 2013, 9:07 AM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com

Once deemed by the New York Jets as their franchise quarterback, Mark Sanchez is now just a player fighting for a starting job on a team in transition.

For the first time in his career, Sanchez's name surfaced last week in a trade rumor -- a jarring reality.

Even though his status has slipped, Sanchez insisted Monday he has no problem with an open competition, one of the first edicts delivered by new general manager John Idzik.

"I know Mr. Idzik and [coach] Rex [Ryan] are big on competition, and that was really the theme heading into this year -- and I completely understand that," Sanchez said on the first day of the offseason program, speaking to reporters for the first time since January.

"I think it'll bring out the best in everyone on the team," he added. "Everyone has to compete for their spot and I totally respect that. As far as I'm concerned, I'm preparing to play well for this team and do everything in my control to be the best quarterback on the roster."

Sanchez's primary competition will be recently signed veteran David Garrard and Greg McElroy.

Tim Tebow remains on the roster -- he reported at 6:30 a.m. ET for the start of voluntary workouts -- but he doesn't figure in the team's 2013 plans.

Despite his struggles, Sanchez said he's never considered a fresh start elsewhere. Sanchez is signed through 2016, including an $8.25 million guarantee this season that virtually ties him to the Jets.

"I enjoy being here," said Sanchez, who committed 26 turnovers in each of the last two seasons. "Rex and I have had some real success here. It's a great place to play, especially when you're winning. It's also tough when you're not playing as well as you'd like to and things aren't going your way."

Sanchez was mentioned last Friday in a report that said his name was discussed in the Darrelle Revis trade talks with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

However, the Jets aren't planning to include Sanchez in a Revis trade package, a source said.

"I don't know what to say," Sanchez said. "That's more of an upstairs question. I'm not really worried about it."

The Jets didn't make any attempt to offer a clarification, according to Sanchez.

"My heart and soul is into this thing," he said. "That's really where my head's at. I'm fired up about this year and hope it's a good one."

In past years, Sanchez spoke confidently about it being "my team." He insisted his approach hasn't changed, but the usual bravado was missing.

Sanchez struggled last season, a 6-10 disaster in which he was benched for the first time in his career. After the season, he studied video of his 26 turnovers, accepting his share of the blame.

"I think, at times, there were decisions I made that put our team in a in tough spot," he said. "I just forced the ball here or there. I tried to make up for something we didn't have or something wasn't right. You try to make a play and it comes back to get you."

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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