Was Mark Sanchez’s NFL career saved by ‘intervention’ staged by his trainer?
Mark Sanchez may be riding high right now coming off two solid games at quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles in relief of injured starter Nick Foles, But his career renaissance after a nightmare run with the New York Jets may never have happened had it not been for a member of his inner circle sitting him down and forcing the quarterback to take a long, hard look at both himself and what he wanted out of his NFL career.
In fact, according to an MMQB story, Sanchez’s career was the subject of an “intervention” that was conducted by Todd Norman, a pal of the quarterback as well as Sanchez’s trainer.
Norman has worked with Sanchez since his high school days, so it’s presumable that the quarterback has great respect in Norman’s opinion.
The trainer decided to stage the intervention at an Orange County restaurant back in January, and he brought in an unidentified big gun to help force Sanchez to take stock of his career.
“It is one thing for me to say certain things to Mark as his trainer and his friend,” Norman said, “but I wanted him to hear from someone else. A pro athlete who has been in the game for a long time, made a lot of money and had a lot of success. Not even a football player. Just someone outside of his immediate world. Someone Mark has respect for.”
Norman, along with the unnamed athlete, forced Sanchez to recognize first that he was weak and out of shape after suffering a torn labrum during a 2013 preseason game that in essence ended his nightmare run with New York, an experience Drew Bledsoe equated to being a “sacrificial virgin.”
Norman then told Sanchez he would need to seize the opportunity to resurrect his career elsewhere once the Jets decided to cut him loose, which the team ultimately did in March.
“I told him, ‘Look, you might get one more opportunity,’ ” Norman said of the conversation. “This was a defining offseason for him. This was a situation where you either break through or go downhill from here. And I tell you what, I’ve seen him go through so much stuff in his career, I wouldn’t blame him if he wanted to quit football.”
Of course, Sanchez did not give up, and, after signing on with the Eagles as a backup, was given the chance he was waiting for when Foles went down in a game against the Houston Texans a few weeks ago.
And the rest, as they say, is history. Sanchez is now viewed as a potential season saver in Philly and has become the toast of the town courtesy of his cheesesteak-seeking excursion following the Eagles’ throttling of the Carolina Panthers on Monday night.
One other semi-comical nugget from Norman about his terse conversation with Sanchez: He asked the QB to clean up his appearance.
“He’s going to kill me for saying this, but when we had that first meeting, I told him he needed to shave his beard and cut his hair,” Norman reported. “I said, ‘Hey, you need to look like a professional, and right now you don’t look like a starting quarterback in the NFL.’ Mark is a good-looking guy, and he just didn’t look like he was keeping himself together. To me, that was part of his rebirth. Making a complete change, even in his appearance.”
Good call. To wit:
Suffice to say, the sage advice Norman had for Sanchez, from owning his career to engaging in a makeover, have paid serious dividends for the quarterback once best known for a “ButtFumble” and the moniker “Sanchize.”
(photo credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)