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Mark Sanchez 'thrilled' to vie for New York Jets' QB job

From the haze of an eternal quarterback drama in Florham Park, Mark Sanchez emerged Thursday to address the New York media.

Less than a week after the New York Jets plucked quarterback Geno Smith in the 2013 NFL Draft, Sanchez told the media, per's Kimberly Jones, he's "thrilled" to battle for the starting role under center.

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"They drafted a quarterback," Sanchez said. "Let's compete."

Wearing a highly suspicious, green-tinged headband, Sanchez (who called the fashion choice a nod to "his inner soccer player") expressed little doubt about his future with the Jets.

Asked if he'd open the season as the team's starting passer, the four-year veteran announced, "Sure, no doubt. Of course ... you gotta own it, and compete your butt off to keep it."

Sanchez has spent the offseason working with former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia in an effort to hit training camp fully prepped for offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's West Coast attack. It's a scheme that arguably suits Sanchez's skill set as he enters what Jets general manager John Idzik has labeled as an "open competition" with Smith, David Garrard and Greg McElroy.

Sanchez is guaranteed $8.5 million this season, the result of one of the biggest head-scratching contract extensions of all time. But everything the Jets are doing -- cutting ties with Tim Tebow, drafting new competition -- suggests Idzik is ready to reorganize at quarterback. Still, Sanchez -- similar to an ex-girlfriend hanging around the apartment -- remains like a bad dream.

Sanchez's message to exhausted Jets fans who wander the abyss? "Hang in there and stay loyal."

That has become a tall order in New York, but Jets center Nick Mangoldtold Newsday's Bob Glauber on Thursday he sees something different in Sanchez this offseason: more maturity than in years past.

Going through the fire will do that to a man.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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