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Jets interview USC's Matt Barkley

Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley answers a question

Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley answers a question during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis. (Feb. 22, 2013) Credit: AP

The Jets were one of nine teams to meet formally with USC quarterback Matt Barkley during this week's combine, according to SI's Peter King.

The Eagles, Steelers, Raiders, Chiefs, Bills, Jaguars, Cardinals and Bucs also held 15-minute sessions with Barkley. (The Seahawks, Browns and Falcons also held informal meetings with him.)

Barkley, who did not participate in the combine because of his shoulder injury, talked to King about some "trick" questions during the interview process -- and having to defend himself against the USC QB stigma.

"We watch tape,'' Barkley said in SI, "and I haven't seen one TD of mine. I've seen a lot of interceptions, and they want to know why they happen. I think a couple of teams wanted me to throw coaches or whoever under the table. One team gave me sort of a trick question: 'Would you rather ride the bench and win a Super Bowl, or be a starter and not make the Super Bowl?' That's a trick question, really. I just said, 'I want to be a starter. As much as I want to win a Super Bowl ring, I don't want one handed to me without deserving it.' ''

"...My story's so much different,'' Barkley said, when discussing the careers of Matt Leinart, Carson Palmer and Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. "When the big sanctions came down, coach [Pete] Carroll is gone, we have no A.D., it's the spring of my freshman year and I've got to stand up and speak for the program. We've got all these penalties, and I helped rally the troops. That actually helped me -- helped me become more of a leader. I think I bring a lot that's not quantifiable, starting with the fact that I've been a four-year starter.''  

The Jets, of course, are desperate for QB help. Though Sanchez will remain on the roster this season, new general manager John Idzik has said on several occasions that the Jets will hold a QB competition in training camp.

Barkley is considered the second-best QB in this year's draft class, behind West Virginia's Geno Smith.

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