Mark Sanchez may no longer be the starting quarterback of the New York Jets, but he is not ready to go gently into his good night.
Instead, he's raging against the dying of the light. In Sanchez's mind, he should be the starter after his competition with rookie quarterback Geno Smith.
"I won the competition," Sanchez told NFL Network's Rich Eisen. "There's no doubt. It was a done deal."
According to who? Certainly not according to Jets head coach Rex Ryan, who told the media repeatedly that the competition was "ongoing" -- even in the days leading up to the team's season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Those are strong words coming from Sanchez, though, who has been mum on both his rehab and his status as the Jets starting quarterback.
"There’s nothing I can do about it," he said in late August, when asked if it would be frustrating to lose his starting job due to injury. "I just got to keep rehabbing and try to come back as soon as possible."
It seems rehab is exactly what Sanchez will do. The former starting quarterback also revealed that he's not having surgery to repair a torn labrum, and will instead rehab with hopes he can return to action sooner than later.
By the time he's ready to come back, the starting job may no longer be available. His best chance is if Smith struggles, and even then, there's no guarantee that Sanchez will earn the job back.
It's probably more accurate to say he played himself out of the starting quarterback competition over the past two years, when he turned the ball over a league-worst 52 times and accumulated a passer rating of 73, third-worst in the league since 2011.
Sanchez wasn't a good quarterback with a healthy arm. With a bad throwing shoulder, he's probably not going to be better.
With a young quarterback at the helm -- one who just led a fourth-quarter comeback and earned a victory in his first NFL game, at that -- Sanchez may not get another opportunity.
The perception in Sanchez's mind is that he won the competition, but the reality may be that he ran out of chances a long time ago.
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