Mark Sanchez says he might take a walk down memory lane when he visits MetLife Stadium for the first time since being released by the Jets, but not until after his Eagles face the Giants on Sunday in the regular-season finale for both non-playoff teams.
"We've had some good [memories], some fun wins and things like that, but I will worry about all that after the game and hopefully after a win,'' the 28-year-old quarterback said. "I think it'll be fun. A good chance to get back to that stadium I know pretty well.''
Yes, Sanchez knows MetLife Stadium pretty well -- and mostly for the wrong reasons. He tried to put a smiley face on his time there the other day, but the stadium has been the scene of some of his most nightmarish NFL moments. And the Giants have been a part of some of the worst:
There was the Giants' 29-14 win on Christmas Eve in 2011, highlighted by Victor Cruz's 99-yard touchdown catch-and-run off a short pass from Eli Manning. It was the second loss of a three-game losing streak that eliminated the Jets from playoff contention. Sanchez was intercepted twice and called for a safety for intentional grounding in the end zone.
And who can forget Sanchez's last visit to the stadium? It's where his Jets career ended in miserable fashion.
In a meaningless preseason game against the Giants on Aug. 24, 2013, Sanchez was sent back into the game in the fourth quarter by coach Rex Ryan. It was a mystifying decision, given that Sanchez appeared to have won a competition with Geno Smith and should have been done for the night. But rather than keep Smith in the game or go with backup Matt Simms behind a backup offensive line, Ryan turned to Sanchez, who looked surprised and began whirling his throwing arm to quickly warm up.
On his first series, Sanchez tried to scramble away from the pass rush but was clobbered by defensive tackle Marvin Austin. He never threw another pass for the Jets. He suffered a torn labrum, eventually underwent surgery and was released by the team last March.
It was an unceremonious end for Sanchez, who had been drafted fifth overall in 2009 and once was thought of as the next best thing to Joe Namath. Not quite.
Sanchez, who had helped the Jets make back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances his first two seasons, wound up signing a one-year deal with the Eagles shortly after his release. And after Nick Foles went down at midseason with a broken collarbone, Sanchez looked as if he suddenly had resurrected his career with Eagles coach Chip Kelly's high-flying offense. He won four of his first five games, including an extended relief appearance for Foles, and had eight touchdown passes and six interceptions.
Sanchez put an exclamation point on that promising start when he and the Eagles trounced the Cowboys on Thanksgiving -- exactly two years after Sanchez's embarrassing "Butt Fumble'' against the Patriots at MetLife.
But he hasn't won a game since, looking more like the quarterback Jets fans came to know during the latter part of his run here. Now his stay in Philly could come to an unceremonious end; the Eagles are not expected to re-sign him to be the starter next season. Even Kelly, the wunderkind of offense, couldn't fix him.