Former Jets defensive tackle Kris Jenkins has joined the piling on in New York.
Jenkins, who played for the Jets his final three seasons before retiring prior to the 2011 season, said on the Mike Lupica Show that he doesn’t believe quarterback Mark Sanchez is the kind of leader the team needs. Jenkins praised third-string quarterback Greg McElroy for speaking out about the toxic environment in the Jets’ locker room, and questioned why Sanchez hadn’t similarly spoken out.
“The No. 1 quarterback should have said that a long time ago,” Jenkins said. “It would have been all part of the process of him growing a pair and standing up and being a man. But the thing is, he lost his because he got caught up in the wash that is New York, the spotlight, taking pictures in the magazines and doing all that stuff. That’s just what everybody has seen with Mark Sanchez, they got tired of it.”
In fairness to Sanchez, who posed for GQ during the lockout, he’s far from the first NFL player to have his picture taken for a magazine. When Tom Brady poses for GQ, no one says he’s not a leader. The difference is that Brady didn’t become a celebrity outside the football world until he had a Super Bowl ring. Sanchez is finding out that quarterbacks who get the celebrity treatment before they get the ring will hear harsh criticism.
Jenkins said he was impressed by Sanchez’s potential when they played together, but he questions whether Sanchez has it in him to command respect within the Jets’ locker room.
“Mark wants to be a leader but there’s a difference between wanting it and taking it,” Jenkins said. “He’s always trying to be a crowd pleaser. He’s always trying to be nice. He wants to be a leader but he won’t take it.”
So far Sanchez has kept quiet about the problems inside the Jets’ locker room. Perhaps the first step toward assuming leadership inside the Jets’ locker room is to speak up about the problems inside the Jets’ locker room.