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Brunell on Jets' radar

There's no secret the Jets are in the market for a veteran backup quarterback.

With a loaded team that's making a serious run at Super Bowl XLV in Dallas, the last thing the Jets can afford to do is go into such an important season without a crafty, knowledgeable veteran to back up Mark Sanchez just in case.

Kellen Clemens, although he's a nice guy and all, just isn't going to do the trick and he's done nothing to prove that he can slide in and be effective enough.

So enter Mark Brunell.

He met with the Jets a few weeks ago and there's definitely some interest. But because they are somewhat hampered by the "Final Four" rule, they can't sign Brunell until they lose one of their own unrestricted free agents like DE Marques Douglas or until July 22.

"The only problem I have with Brunell is I thought [player development director] Dave Szott got to him and was leading his family -- if they did come in -- away from Summitt [High School]," Ryan cracked. One of Ryan's sons plays for Summitt High School.

"And that was the big push. That was the sticking thing."

Seriously, though, Ryan gushed about the 17-year veteran who played with the Saints last season. 

"No, he's really a class act," he said. "I've gone against him a bunch. Smart, he wants to go into coaching when he's done playing because if he came here, it's not like he's coming here to be our starting quarterback. But we are interested in him because I think he would've been a good mentor to our guys. I don't know if he's going back to New Orleans or not, but we'll see what happens to him."

If Brunell does sign with the Jets, the odd man out, most likely, would be Clemens. The Jets love young QBs Erik Ainge and Kevin O'Connell, and Clemens' body of work is less than flattering to say the least.

As for Sanchez, I asked Ryan if he believes the Sanchize will be able to participate in any of the upcoming OTAs or even minicamp given Sanchez said the other day that he hopes to be ready to go within the next few weeks.

"We're certainly not going to rush him all the way back, but he's doing everything," Ryan said. "He's itching to go. He can't stand it. But he's thrown the ball some. He looks great. He's doing everything that we ask him to do and he's going to be just fine.

"It's really going to be disappointing to him if he can't come back and do some of those minicamps or OTAs or whatever. I'd love to see him do that last minicamp if at all possible."

New York Sports