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From one Jet to another: Sanchez calls Clemens, his QB competition

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Mark Sanchez's first pass with the New York Jets was right on target.

The fifth overall pick in the NFL draft clutched his new No. 6 green and white jersey at his introductory news conference Sunday and softly tossed it over two rows of seats, right into the hands of his father.

"Over the linebacker," a beaming Nick Sanchez said, "and into the seam."

The Jets are hoping for a whole lot of that on the field for years to come after trading up 12 spots Saturday to select their new face of the franchise.

Sanchez, with his accurate arm and excellent field vision, will compete with Kellen Clemens for the starting job. The two share the same agent, David Dunn, and Sanchez called Clemens after being taken by the Jets.

"I said, 'Hey, Kellen, it's Mark,' and he said, 'Hey, how are you doing, man? Congratulations. Welcome to the Jets family,'" Sanchez said. "That was one of the first things he said, so you can tell he's a first-class guy. For him to be able to do that and talk to me the way he did, he said, 'You know, man, we're going to have fun together. You'll get along with coach Rex (Ryan) and (offensive coordinator Brian) Schottenheimer.' We had a good talk."

Dunn said he doesn't anticipate a long negotiation process with the Jets, and Sanchez was eager to quickly strike a deal.

"In this process, I already feel I'm in the hunt," he said. "I need to get in this place right now. I need as many reps as possible."

Sanchez went 14-2 as a starter at USC, leading the Trojans over Penn State in the Rose Bowl in January. His lack of experience -- he had only one full season as a starter -- had many questioning whether he was truly ready for the NFL. The Jets didn't, especially after putting Sanchez through a private workout and holding a classroom session in a hotel room at the NFL Annual Meeting in California in March.

"He really is advanced for a guy who had 16 starts," Schottenheimer said.

Sanchez also addressed a 2006 incident in which he was arrested after a female USC student accused him of sexual assault. No charges were filed, and Sanchez said it helped prepare him for playing in a place where his every move is scrutinized.

"It was simply false allegations, but in that kind of situation, you're in a huge media spotlight just like here with the Jets," he said. "People know where you go, where you go to eat, who you are dating and things like that. To be in a situation like that, it taught me so much."

Decked out in a black pinstriped suit, dark green tie and white Jets cap, Sanchez caught a flight from his home in Mission Viejo, Calif., shortly before midnight and landed in the New York area early Sunday morning. He then went on a head-spinning media tour, including a stop at the draft site at Radio City Music Hall, along with his family.

And it won't stop there. Sanchez announced on his Twitter page that he will throw out the first pitch at Citi Field before the New York Mets' game against the Florida Marlins on Monday night.

"This is so cool," Sanchez said with a smile as the cameras flashed while he held up his jersey -- punter Reggie Hodges worked out a side agreement for the No. 6.

"There's a lot of work ahead," Sanchez said. "This isn't an end point. Getting here isn't it. It's about winning games and playoff games and getting into championship games."

The Jets acquired the No. 5 pick from former coach Eric Mangini's team, the Cleveland Browns, for their first- and second-round picks, along with defensive end Kenyon Coleman, safety Abram Elam and quarterback Brett Ratliff. New York was at it again Sunday when it traded third-, fourth- and seventh-round selections to the Detroit Lions for the first spot in the third round to select Iowa running back Shonn Greene.

"We felt so good about those two players that we had to pay the price to go up there and get them," Schottenheimer said.

With their last pick, the Jets selected Nebraska guard Matt Slauson, a three-time All-Big 12 Conference selection, in the sixth round.

Greene, from Sicklerville, N.J., set Iowa single-season records last year with 1,850 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns after sitting out the previous year when he was ruled academically ineligible. Powerfully built at 5-foot-11 and 227 pounds, he could provide a nice complement to the bulldozing Thomas Jones and speedy Leon Washington.

"I think I can do a lot of things, but mostly, I'm good between the tackles, and I'm going to get those tough yards and just move the chains," Greene said.

Greene, who was in the shower when he found out the Jets had drafted him, was a backup during his first two seasons at Iowa. After leaving the school, he worked at a furniture store in Iowa and improved his grades at Kirkwood Community College before he rejoined the Hawkeyes. He then had to beat out five other players to win the starting tailback job.

"I just think that situation just really helped me out, and it's the reason I'm here today," Greene said. "It's crazy to think about where I was last year to now."

Greene ran into Sanchez when he arrived at the Jets' training facility, and the two hugged, congratulated each other and then exchanged phone numbers.

"Good guy," Greene said. "He's going to do good here."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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