The cover of this GQ Magazine is iconic. Mark Sanchez is now playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. And Michael Vick, the veteran QB who rewrote the book on comebacks, whom the Eagles signed in 2009 and let go this year, is now playing for the NY Jets. How ironic is that? But for now, we honor the veteran quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Mark Travis John Sanchez just had the best game of his professional career, ever. A six-year veteran, he was unceremoniously released by the New York Jets at the end of last season after having shoulder surgery. With no love lost between the Jets and Sanchez, the onetime franchise Phenom with a Five Year, $50 million dollar contract became a free agent rummaging for a paying job. But that was then, and this is now.
On Veterans Day eve, this valuable veteran valedictorian led his new team (the Eagles Baby!) to a dominant 45-21 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football. Sanchez finished with 20 completions on 37 attempts for 332 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Not too shabby for a belated, back-up, substitute, surrogate quarterback who apparently has more than a little left in the tank.
Veteran Mark Sanchez just taught us all another laudable lesson in how to play the game of life: “Don’t Give In, Don’t Give Out, and Don’t Give Up.”
Veterans don’t give in and don’t give up. First, don’t give in to what the naysayers say or what the critics bray. Giving in simply means you’re giving up. What if all of the veterans who won wars and vanquished villains and bashed bastions were quick to throw in the towel and give up the fight? That’s right; perish the thought.
Mark Sanchez has learned to the lesson of what not to give out. We must be discreet and discerning about what we give and what we share. Everyone doesn’t need a piece of your mind. Don’t give out accolades too soon or criticism too early, as was the case with Sanchez’s NFL debut in 2009. The Jets and the New York fans and just about everyone else expected oh so much from the USC star fresh off a Rose Bowl win over Penn State. And then when he didn’t consistently produce, they threw him under the bus.
Veterans don’t wear out. While Sanchez was with the Jets, the press pushed and pressed and heaped and heaved much too much on the college kid who many said wasn’t ready to start in the NFL as a rookie. Nonetheless, in 2009 Sanchez led the Jets to the playoffs and the AFC Championship game AS A ROOKIE. And so the moral of the story is that you don’t get respect, you earn it. And as a veteran, Sanchez has certainly earned the respect of this Philly fan and the respect of all of the Philly Faithful, and the rest of the NFL as well. And don’t think the Jets aren’t wondering why they let him go.
Mark Sanchez just may be the comeback kid of the year. He may have been down, but he was not out. When he could only look up, he did not give up. When he was cut, he didn’t cut and run. He has no quit in him. And last night, he came back and played for his new team and led them like a wily veteran should. And he had fun doing it. Sanchez looked like he was having the time of his life. Games are to be played, and if you can’t have fun playing, you might as well not play at all.
So on this Veterans Day, we salute all of our valiant veterans in uniform on and off of the field. We honor the spiritual veterans who are a part of the Church Triumphant who have finished fighting the good fight, like Dr. Myles Monroe and my dear ole dad, Chaplain Elmer Hunter. And we certainly honor the warriors who are still fighting and continue to fight, such as my mom, and Mom Pearl and Sam (my in-laws) in the church militant .
And while we harbor and hug the veterans whose hands we now hold, it’s the warriors on the battle fields before our time and beyond our reach that we honor and praise and prize the most on this their day.