You don't get to visit the White House every day. And the odds you'll be invited there by a sitting President aren't very promising, either.
But Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson found themselves dining at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Wednesday night at a state dinner as President Obama and the First Lady hosted Mexican President Felipe Calderon and his wife, Margarita Zavala, in the East Room of the White House.
"It was a great experience and something that I'll remember," said Sanchez less than 24 hours after dining on a meal that included herb green ceviche of Hawaiian opah and Oregon Wagyu beef in Oaxacan black mole. "I kept the menu and the nametag. It was pretty cool."
Sanchez couldn't resist a little levity when asked why he selected Ferguson as his running mate.
"Brick's into politics and he looks like a governor — he could definitely be a governor or something," the QB said. "It just felt right to take a teammate and someone who would be interested. He was definitely that and he had a great time."
But why Brick in particular?
"Left tackle, baby. I protect Mark Sanchez for a living. That's what I do," said Ferguson after the Jets' third OTA practice of the spring. "We have a great relationship on and off the field."
Before Sanchez and Ferguson flew down to our nation's capital, they attended a golf tournament hosted by guard Brandon Moore. The proceeds raised at Moore's tournament benefited the Jack & Jill Late Cancer Foundation, which provides children and families a break from the dreaded disease to create cherished memories.
"Right now is the time of the year where you get to a lot of charity work, helping out other guys on the team. When you go to these events, you see how fortunate you are," Sanchez said. "You meet youngsters terminally ill with cancer who on this one good day, they get to meet the New York Jets. You get so caught up in your busy day, your OTAs, rehab, and really it's nothing, it's negligible. There are other, bigger issues out there, so it's this time of year when you get to really realize that."
Ferguson called the evening "surreal," and it must have been a surreal moment for Sanchez when Mexico's First Lady pulled out a familiar jersey while the Heads of State were welcoming their guests.
"She has a Sanchez jersey and she pulls it out of her purse, so it was pretty funny," said the 23-year-old passer. "Everybody was kind of taken aback, like 'Wow!' but it was pretty special."
Ferguson told reporters he didn't get home until 3 a.m. Thursday, but neither Jet would dare complain of fatigue. If they didn't have enough excitement during the White House dinner, Beyoncé and Rodrigo y Gabriela performed under a tent on the South Lawn after the meal.
"Beyoncé killed it. It was unbelievable. I've never heard anything like it. And Jay-Z was there," Sanchez said. "And they had Rodrigo y Gabriela, really talented guitarists. It was pretty cool. The setup was beautiful."
Ferguson attempted to convert President Obama, a former Chicago community organizer, Illinois state senator and U.S. senator from Illinois, on one key issue. Unfortunately this wasn't a change that the President believed in.
"I tried to talk to President Obama about becoming a Jets fan," Brick said. "He was having none of that. He's a diehard Chicago Bears fan."
The Jets have made no bones that their goal is the Super Bowl. When Rex Ryan was hired in February of 2009, he told the world that he and his team would have the chance to meet President Obama. Two of his star players dined with the Obama on Wednesday and Sanchez hopes for a return date following this season.
"That was my frame of mind almost the entire time," he said. "While I was trying to enjoy everything and hanging on to the napkin they gave me with the country's seal on it, it was, 'Hey, we're kind of scoping out this territory. We're coming back in February.' That's kind of in your head. We know where to go. We can lead the guys on the tour now."