Sanchez: 'I'm Ready to Play My Butt Off'

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The Radio City roar reached all the way to Southern California this afternoon. When Jets fans found out the Green & White had obtained the No. 5 overall selection from the Cleveland Browns, they knew that Commissioner Roger Goodell would deliver the quarterback they desired.

And when the Commish announced Mark Sanchez's name, their celebration was noted by the new Jets rookie.

"I saw it on the TV and they looked very excited and that's important. I feel like I'll be excited for a warm welcome there in New York and I feel like I'll fit right in with all the fans there and it's going to be an exciting time," Sanchez told Randy Lange and me during a Jets Radio segment today.

"I feed off that energy and I'm just ready to play my butt of and practice like crazy to be the starter and play very soon and make things happen. It's going to be a special opportunity and that was an incredible moment when I heard Mr. Tannenbaum on the phone. It meant a lot."

With the selection of Sanchez, the Jets now have taken six quarterbacks in the first round in their 50-year history. Alabama product Joe Namath was taken higher than anyone, drafted No. 1 overall back in 1965 and delivering the Jets their only championship four seasons later.

"Joe Namath handled the pressure well and the people really loved him. I think when you win like that, that's the great equalizer and everybody loves a winner," Sanchez told Lange about this historic occasion. "That's what I'm used to at USC and that's what hopefully we can get accomplished here in New York."

Sanchez, who was born in Long Beach, Calif., is not a laid-back surfer dude (not that anything's wrong with that). His father, Nick, is a fire captain in Orange County and he raised his son to be a leader. And you can't be a great quarterback in this league unless you're a tremendous leader.

When I asked Sanchez for a self-scout, he gave an interesting answer. He talked briefly about some physical tools, but he took more time to expound on his personality.

"The things you want to see on the field are accuracy and great footwork, just good arm strength and being able to get the ball down the field and understand the situations," he said. "But the things the Jets really liked about me were the intangibles — my leadership, the excitement and the passion I show for this game — and I think that's what really put them over the top on me. I think they felt I was excited to play and ready to get out there.

"They asked what I was going to do in the off-season and I was like 'What do you mean, off-season?' I'm going to be at the facility. I'll go home for a week or so but that's my new home. This is my new hometown and my new favorite team. They really liked my personality also and I feel like it's going to be a great fit in New York."

Mark Sanchez is a Jet and he's coming to New York. That definitely deserves another roar.

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