"I think some things that happened in the locker room between (Sanchez) and the receivers, I think that's where this is coming from -- some of the disconnects that happened throughout the year, maybe some of the arguments you guys heard about throughout the year," Tomlinson said on ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown," via ESPN New York.
Tomlinson defended Sanchez's work ethic after the quarterback was blasted as "lazy and content" in a New York Daily News story that cited unnamed players and team sources.
"Listen, there are a lot of things you can say about Mark Sanchez, but to call him lazy is a bit much," Tomlinson said. "This is a guy that has worked very hard off the field ... in the film room, I've seen it ... the weight room, putting in extra time with the coaches early in the morning ... after practice, when everybody is gone, putting in time. So he's not lazy."
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Jets owner Woody Johnson, coach Rex Ryan and a collection of teammates have publicly defended Sanchez and called out the phantom critics as defying team code, but one point Tomlinson did agree on is that New York's young quarterback needs to compete for his role, like most NFL players, in order to blossom.
"Mark hasn't had that competition to push him," said Tomlinson, who will choose between retirement and testing the free-agent waters this offseason. "I do think he'll be a better player if he has some competition, somebody to push him."