Marcus Mariota may not know much about the Jets franchise, but the Heisman Trophy winner is a huge fan of backup quarterback Michael Vick.
And believe it or not, the feeling is mutual.
"I didn't know,'' Vick told Newsday after being informed of Mariota's fandom. "But he also needs to know I'm a big fan of his as well. I've seen film of him with [former Oregon coach] Chip Kelly when I was learning his system [in Philadelphia], and I almost knew. I can look at a guy and know whether he's going to be a star in college or the NFL. I knew he would have an opportunity.''
Although Vick, a former No. 1 overall pick himself, can't support the idea of tanking the season in hopes of securing the No. 1 draft pick, he understands what the Mariota hype is all about.
"I think he has all the skills, I think he has the intangibles and the smarts to be a great quarterback in this league,'' Vick said Tuesday during a break from donating Nike sneakers to children at The Boys and Girls Club of Harlem.
Whether the Jets (3-11) will have a shot at Mariota remains to be seen. But it's clear the organization will have to address the quarterback position. Geno Smith has regressed in Year 2, and Vick is on a one-year deal.
The 12-year veteran conceded it's "kind of weird'' knowing fans, and perhaps members of the Jets front office, already are looking ahead to drafting a franchise quarterback. But he understands "there's always younger guys who are going to come in'' vying for opportunities.
Vick, who has spent much of this season being a vocal supporter of the struggling Smith, was allowed to start only three games before the organization turned back to Smith. Even so, Vick still believes he has the tools to be the Jets' franchise quarterback.
"I can be the face of any franchise,'' he said. "Hopefully, there will be an opportunity for me in 2015. And that's what I'm looking forward to.''
While he's open to returning to New York next season, there's another NFL city also on his radar: Washington.
"That's home,'' the Virginia native said, beaming like a child. "That's home for me. Don't get me excited. Don't get me excited.''
The prospect of being able to reunite with Redskins receiver DeSean Jackson also excites Vick. After he signed with the Jets in March, Vick said the pair talked about Jackson signing there as well.
"Being honest, yeah, we talked about it once I signed,'' Vick said of getting his former Eagles teammate to the Jets. "And of course, DeSean is my little brother. I'm not saying he wanted to follow me, but he also knows what type of player I am and I know how to get him the ball.
"I know his speed, I know his acceleration path, I know when he's coming out of his breaks. There's nobody that knows DeSean Jackson better than me. I think he knows that, and we were just trying to position ourselves to be together again, but it didn't work out.''
Given the quarterback drama playing out in Washington, there's a chance the Redskins may choose to part ways with Robert Griffin III during the offseason.
"I'm open to playing for anybody that wants to win,'' Vick said. "But obviously, going back home, I mean, that'll be a dream come true,'' he said, smiling again. "But I would hate to get my hopes up for something that wouldn't happen. So I can't even think about it right now.''
Notes & quotes:The Jets released CB Josh Thomas a day after he pleaded on Twitter for the return of his playbook and passport. The Jets signed S Rontez Miles to the active roster and added LB Mario Harvey to the practice squad.