New Red­skins QB Mark Sanchez jokes about ‘The Butt Fum­ble’

The Record (Troy, NY) - - SPORTS - By Howard Fen­drich AP Pro Foot­ball Writer

ASHBURN, VA. (AP) >> The ques­tion about that one par­tic­u­lar, in­fa­mous play wasn’t com­plete when Mark Sanchez in­ter­rupted to de­liver a per­fectly straight-faced, dead­pan re­sponse.

“I’m not fol­low­ing,” he said. For a guy who was a first-round NFL draft pick and played in a pair of AFC ti­tle games at the out­set of his pro­fes­sional ca­reer, Sanchez knows — fairly or not — his name is as­so­ci­ated with “The Butt Fum­ble.” And so he was able to crack a smile — and a re­tort — when it was brought up at a news con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day be­fore Sanchez par­tic­i­pated in his first prac­tice as the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins’ lat­est start­ing quar­ter­back.

He’ll be on the field Sun­day when Wash­ing­ton (6- 6) hosts the New York Gi­ants (4-8).

“What are you go­ing to do? It was a crappy play in a game we were get­ting our butts kicked,” Sanchez said about that turnover after run­ning into one of his line­men dur­ing his New York Jets’ 4919 loss to the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots on Thanks­giv­ing Day six years ago.

“Some low-hang­ing fruit, so that was an easy reach for you,” he said. “I’m just kid­ding! I’m just kid­ding! Come on. You can give

it to me; I can give it right back. Come on. Thick skin in here, huh? No, lis­ten: Who cares? It’s one play. And just move on. I pre­fer to re­mem­ber the good stuff.”

Which, of course, is ex­actly what he should do.

Let oth­ers fo­cus on a long- ago blun­der — as many on Twit­ter did dur­ing Wash­ing­ton’s 28-13 loss to Philadel­phia on Mon­day night, when Sanchez re­cov­ered his own fum­ble

by hold­ing the ball against his be­hind.

“In my mind, he shouldn’t let that (2012 play for the Jets) de­fine him,” said Gi­ants coach Pat Shur­mur, who was the of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor for Sanchez when both were with the Ea­gles in 2014-15. “We are all in­volved in many, many plays and many, many games. There’s many, many good things that hap­pen. You’re in­volved in a lot of wins and, un­for­tu­nately, you’re in­volved once in a while in a bad play or a bad game.”

The 32- year- old Sanchez hasn’t won a reg­u­lar-

sea­son start in al­most ex­actly four years. And he has thrown for more in­ter­cep­tions (87) than TDs (86) in the NFL.

But he was the only QB the team had after Alex Smith and Colt McCoy each went down with a bro­ken right leg in a span of three games.

“In some ways, two weeks ago, it was an un­fa­mil­iar po­si­tion. But re­ally, his­tor­i­cally, it’s a fa­mil­iar po­si­tion. That’s what makes it fun. You work for some­thing, you pray for some­thing, and then it fi­nally hap­pens — you don’t care what the cir­cum-

stances are,” Sanchez said. “You’re just happy to get a shot.”

He joked Wed­nes­day about be­ing un­fa­mil­iar with his team­mates: “Don’t ask me their names.”

Joked, t oo, about Adrian Peter­son’s 90-yard touch­down run against Philadel­phia on Sanchez’s first play after en­ter­ing for the in­jured McCoy: “That was a pretty good hand­off, huh?”

Now, though, coach Jay Gru­den knows that Wash­ing­ton’s faint play­off hopes rest with a QB who was signed a cou­ple of weeks ago.

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