You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Professional

  • Local player getting shot at hockey dream
    When Karch Bachman, 17, tells people around his small town of Wolcottville that he's a hockey player, he's often met with quizzical looks, not surprising considering there isn't a local team or even a rink.
  • Italian ‘boss’ on brink of victory
    ARGELES-GAZOST, France – As his team hoped, Vincenzo Nibali demonstrated he’s the “boss” of the Tour de France.
  • Spencer placed on physically unable to perform list
    OXNARD, Calif. – The Dallas Cowboys have placed defensive end Anthony Spencer and guard Ron Leary on the active physically unable to perform list to start training camp.
Advertisement
AP | File
Philadelphia Eagles' Michael Vick warms up before the first half of a game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Chicago Bears.
NFL

Jets sign Vick, release Sanchez

AP | File
New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith throws a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
AP | File
Mark Sanchez, who normally throws right-handed, throws a pass with his left hand before game with the New England Patriots.

NEW YORK – Michael Vick is in for the New York Jets.

Mark Sanchez is out.

And, the stage is set for one hot quarterback competition this summer with Geno Smith.

The Jets signed the former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback to a one-year deal Friday, and released Sanchez, the one-time face of the franchise.

"Anywhere I go, or any team, I'm always going to compete for the No. 1 spot," Vick said during a conference call. "And I will encourage any other quarterback behind me or in front of me to always compete for their job, for the No. 1 spot.

"That's how champions are made."

Vick will present a real challenge to Smith, who played well down the stretch of his rookie season, but finished with 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. The Jets, however, never labeled Smith their starter entering the offseason – and last year's second-round draft pick will have his work cut out during training camp if he intends to be under center in Week 1 this season.

"As of right now," Vick said, "Geno's the starting quarterback of this football team."

But, Vick also made it clear that he still envisions himself as a starting-caliber player.

"I wouldn't say I would necessarily be OK with sitting on the bench all year," Vick said. "But, I know what I signed up for and I know what I came to New York to do."

That means competing with Smith, helping the youngster along and getting better himself.

"At the end of the day," Vick said of however things turn out, "I'll be content with it."

Vick was a free agent after spending the last five seasons with the Eagles. He will be reunited with Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who helped the quarterback have the best season of his career in Philadelphia in 2010. Vick was plagued by injuries the last three years and lost the starting job last year to Nick Foles.

Vick was still considered the top quarterback available in this offseason's free agent class. Vick said he was sold on the Jets because he enjoyed the idea of being reunited with Mornhinweg and playing for Rex Ryan, an opportunity he welcomed.

"I love competition and I love football," Vick said. "And, I feel I have a lot of football left to play."

Vick, who had a solid start in Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense, injured a hamstring in Week 5 last season. He was replaced by Foles, who led the Eagles to the NFC East title and was selected the Pro Bowl MVP. Despite losing the starting gig, Vick was praised by Kelly and team officials for being a leader in the locker room and maintaining an outstanding relationship with Foles while helping him through his second NFL season.

"I really enjoyed getting to know him over the last five years," Eagles chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement in which he thanked Vick. "He always represented our team with a tremendous amount of class."

Vick thanked the Eagles, their fans and the city of Philadelphia in an open letter posted on The Philadelphia Inquirer's website.

"I was honored to be their quarterback and took the privilege to heart every day," he wrote.

The move by the Jets is reminiscent of the headline-making trade they made in 2008, when they acquired an unretired Brett Favre – but as their unquestioned starter. The Vick signing also came two years to the day that the Jets made the surprising move to trade for Tim Tebow.

Vick, a four-time Pro Bowl selection who will be 34 in June, was once considered the most dynamic player in the NFL, particularly during his first six NFL seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. His playing career was abruptly halted for two seasons in 2007 when he pleaded guilty to being part of a dog fighting ring. He served 21 months in federal prison, and two more in home confinement. Since his release in 2009, Vick has worked with the Humane Society of the United States to stop organized animal fighting.

The move drew mixed reviews by Jets fans on Twitter and message boards, but that didn't concern Vick.

"I appreciate all the Jets fans who appreciate me and accept me for who I am and what I've become, not for what I've done," Vick said. "Right now, my past is irrelevant."

Sanchez's release came as no surprise, but completes a stunning downfall for the quarterback who once drew comparisons to Joe Namath after helping lead the Jets to consecutive AFC title games in 2009 and 2010. He struggled with consistency after that, and spent last season on injured reserve after tearing the labrum in his right shoulder in a preseason game.

Sanchez had three years remaining on his contract, but his $13.1 million salary cap number for next season – and $2 million roster bonus due Tuesday – made it unlikely the team would keep him at that amount.

Needing another veteran to push Smith, the Jets set their sights on Vick as soon as free agency began last week.

"I came to New York to play football," Vick said. "That's what I came to New York to do. I came to New York to play football. As long as I have a uniform on, I'm good."

Concussion case

The court fight over NFL concussions should heat up soon as a judge in Philadelphia weighs the fairness of the proposed $765 million settlement.

Lead players' lawyer Sol Weiss expects the court's financial expert to advise the judge "shortly" on his view of the class-action plan.

Senior U.S. District Judge Anita Brody has voiced concerns that the fund won't cover 20,000 retirees for 65 years. And critics believe the NFL is getting off lightly, given its $9 billion in annual revenues.

"When you look at it objectively, it didn't matter how much money the NFL had, it was, 'Is there enough money to take care of (people)?' " Weiss said Friday at a seminar at the Villanova University School of Law outside Philadelphia.

Schaub traded

Oakland acquired quarterback Matt Schaub from Houston for an undisclosed draft pick, giving the quarterback a second chance after he lost his starting job with the Texans last season.

Around the league

Minnesota signed free agent defensive end Corey Wootton from Chicago. … Cincinnati signed offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse from Green Bay. …

Safety Charles Woodson officially signed a one-year contract to remain with Oakland. … Baltimore agreed to terms with former St. Louis Rams safety Darian Stewart on a one-year contract. … Carolina signed unrestricted free agent quarterback Joe Webb and cornerback Antoine Cason to one-year contracts and wide receiver Tiquan Underwood to a two-year deal. …

Tennessee defensive end Adewale Ojomo was arrested in a Miami prostitution sting. A Miami police report stated the 25-year-old South Florida native was booked on a charge of soliciting a prostitute.

Advertisement