Sanchez says he expects to play when he returns

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Realistically, the Jets have already made their move away from Mark Sanchez.

But after being left to twist and “compete” all summer, the former Jets starting quarterback said he expects to get back on the field when he returns from short-term IR.

Sanchez was placed on the injured reserve/designated for return, and can return to the practice field in six weeks and be activated in eight. When that time comes, he said he wants his old job back.

I expect to play, that’s just the way I am,” Sanchez said, via Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com. “I’m expecting to be the starter, I always have been.”

Sanchez said he’s fine with the decision to shelve him for a few months, and that he was planning to follow a more conservative plan that doesn’t include surgery for now.  Sanchez said the multiple doctors advised him to rehab first, but neither Sanchez nor General Manager John Idzik ruled out surgery after the season.

Of course, by the time Sanchez is well enough to play, Geno Smith (the guy Idzik drafted to replace him) could have made the job his own.

But Idzik called Sanchez “a very important player,” which is curious given the way he’s been treated.

“He’s a quarterback. He’s a very important player to our team,” Idzik said. “The designation is tailor-made for someone like this. . . .

“It wasn’t misdiagnosed at all. We were literally taking it day to day. Now, after three weeks and little bit more information, looking forward, you have to readjust your sights.”

The approach the Jets have taken to this is curious to say the least. If Sanchez does take the field when he returns, it means a bad thing has happened. Either Smith has gotten hurt, or has played to a level that will cast doubt on his future as the starter.

Either way, it will be a mess, which seems perfectly appropriate.