Mark Sanchez retains hope that he can resurrect his career with the New York Jets.
The 27-year-old, selected fifth overall by the Jets in the 2009 NFL Draft, had a fine start to his career at MetLife Stadium, reaching the play-offs in consecutive seasons.
However, the former USC star failed to make the post-season the following year amidst reported unrest in the Jets camp, and things went from bad to worse in 2012 after some high-profile fumbles. He was benched for the final game of the season.
Whilst challenging for the starters job this summer, Sanchez suffered a serious shoulder injury and after surgery in October, he was ruled out for the season. That’s given Geno Smith, drafted in 2013, an opportunity to take the lead on offence in New Jersey, but after a steady star, he’s also struggled to maintain form.
That might have given Sanchez optimism over his long-term future with the franchise, and he took time out from volunteering at a soup kitchen to speak to the media yesterday (Tuesday).
"There's no doubt about that," Sanchez told ESPN when asked if he wanted to play out the rest of his contract with the Jets (which expires in 2016).
"It's been a dream come true to play here and I don't want to go anywhere else, that's for sure. I know I have (three) years left, and I don't ever want that to end. I love being a Jet and I plan on being here."
The reality might be a little different, with the Jets expected to release or trade before March, when the player is due a $2million from the club. He also has a $13.1million salary cap charge in 2014.
Sanchez is trying to avoid the press speculation however, and even joked that he could return to the QB position with a ‘bionic’ arm.
"I know I've heard a lot of stuff on the outside about me not being here and stuff like that," he added.
"I don't know if that's necessarily the case in the building. Hopefully not. Hopefully, I'm a Jet. That's where I am, (and) that's where I want to be."