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Mark Sanchez 'fired up' to re-establish himself as starter

Quarterback Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets

Quarterback Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets calls a play before he snaps the ball against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. (Dec. 17, 2012) Credit: Getty

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Having put his poor 2012 season behind him, Mark Sanchez is looking forward to a fresh start.

"My heart and soul is into this thing and I was just excited to see a bunch of guys on the team again and get ready to get going,'' the Jets quarterback said Monday during the first day of voluntary workouts. "That's really where my head's at. I'm fired up this year.''

The fifth-year quarterback has a singular focus: to win back his starting job. Again.

After a 6-10 season in which he had 13 touchdown passes and 18 interceptions and completed only 54.3 percent of his passes, Sanchez recently became acclimated to the West Coast offense with the help of former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia.

For the first time in his erratic career, Sanchez isn't a lock for the starting job, knowing he'll have to compete with David Garrard, Greg McElroy and Matt Simms, at the very least.

"It's a whole new year and I'm excited to see the kind of team that we have when it's all said and done,'' said Sanchez, who will earn $8.25 million guaranteed in base salary this season. "I'm coming in to compete and to be the best player I can. And that's really my only focus . . . It's my job to be the most accurate guy and the best decision-maker. And then we'll see what happens there.''

Although Sanchez isn't going anywhere, the futures of Darrelle Revis and Tim Tebow remain unclear. Revis, who was driving his silver, dark-tinted Mini Cooper, did not stop to talk to reporters when he arrived at the Jets' facility at about 2:15 p.m. after his morning MRI with surgeon Russell Warren in Manhattan. According to a league source, Revis' exam went "great'' and he has been cleared to run without restrictions.

Revis' health after reconstructive knee surgery remains the biggest unknown in the talks between the Jets and Bucs, the only known trade partner for the three-time All-Pro cornerback, who tore his left ACL in September. The Bucs are willing to give up first-, second- and fifth-round picks for Revis, Sports Illustrated reported Monday, but it's unclear if the Jets would secure all of those picks in next week's draft (which starts April 25) or receive one or two in 2014.

An ESPN report Monday said the trade talks are "on hold'' while the Jets examine Revis' knee, but according to, a Bucs source said "this supposed suspension of trade talks'' is a ploy by the Jets to raise their asking price.

"I love him as a teammate, I love him as a friend,'' Sanchez said of possibly losing Revis. "But I don't make those decisions.''

Revis' presence was a foregone conclusion, considering the $3 million in bonuses he stood to lose if he didn't attend the start of voluntary workouts.

Even though Tebow likely won't be a Jet in 2013, he was one of the first players on the scene, arriving between 6 and 6:30 a.m. Although the team would like to part with the backup quarterback, the Denver Post reported that even if the Jets cut him, they must pay his former team, the Broncos, $1.531 million in addition to the $1.055 million owed to Tebow.

Notes & quotes: The Jets announced that right tackle Austin Howard has signed his second-level restricted free-agent tender worth $2.023 million in salary . . . Wide receiver Santonio Holmes did not attend workouts, reportedly because he is taking classes at Ohio State and rehabbing his broken foot.

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