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Tuesday, 08 December 2015 20:30

Mark Sanchez: California Kid

Written by Kristie Bertucci Photos: Brian McGee
Mark Sanchez may play football on the East Coast, but he’s a Southern California boy at heart. Currently residing in Philadelphia, PA, for the season as the backup quarterback for the Eagles, the fan favorite Sanchez loves to soak up Cali rays during the off-season in his Jeep Wrangler JK. We spent the day with USC’s former quarterback before the current NFL season and learned that despite all the fame, he’s a humble, laid-back guy who loves the beach, his dog and his Jeep.

“The Jeep is great; It’s a cross between a convertible and a pickup for me,” Sanchez explains. “It’s a great ride for living at the beach in California because the weather is always nice and I can keep the top down. I have a chocolate English Labrador, Oso, that rides with me and he loves it. I’m usually driving around with a bag of footballs and other training equipment and the Jeep makes it easy to throw my gear in the back and take off.”

He linked up with us here at DUB Magazine, via a mutual friend, to help him add a few things to the Jeep and give it a little more swag. Although he left most of the mods up to DUB, he did choose the Arctic digital camo pattern for the wrap. “It’s unique and looks great. My nephew, Nico, thinks it looks like something out of Minecraft.” He also requested new rims and tires, and went with set of TIS 535B wheels and Nitto Trail Grappler tires. Another highlight for Sanchez is the front winch, which he mentions can pull him or someone else out “of a jam on the beach.”

Completely blown away when he first saw his upgraded Jeep, it’s become his daily driver when he’s in Cali, especially when he’s heading to off-season training and workouts or to have a chill day at the beach. “It really went from a basic Jeep to a California beach machine,” he admits. “The audio was completely upgraded and it looked much better lifted with the upgraded tires and rims.”

How’s playing college football different from the NFL? College is different because all of the guys on the team are pretty much the same age and are going through very similar experiences. In the NFL, guys are at various stages of life and in their careers. Take a look at any NFL locker room and you have young rookies that are single, wide-eyed and in their early 20s. At the same time, you have 10 year veteran players, who are married with kids and playing for their third team. Not everyone is at the same stage in their lives and, as a quarterback, it is your job to bring everyone together and create a unified group that can succeed together Then there is the speed and overall ability of the players themselves. When you think about it, the guys on the field in the NFL were the absolute best players on their college team. That means, there are no soft spots out there; everyone you face was an all-star or All-American player. You have to step up your game and preparation becomes critical to your success because the talent level and speed are so elevated.

What can fans expect from you this season? I’m going to compete to be the quarterback for this team and help us win as many games as possible. It was a new offense for me last year, but I feel that I was able to grow in the system and now I’m ready to succeed in Coach Kelly’s up-tempo offense. The goal is simple, win. We have to stack up enough wins to get into the playoffs. For me personally, it will be to build off of last year. We set franchise records on offense last year, including points scored, passing yards, first downs, completions and completion percentage. I’d like to improve on those achievements and do whatever it takes to get to the playoffs. I’ve been one win away from a Super Bowl two times now. It’s been right there in front of me. I really want an opportunity to play in and win a Super Bowl. That’s what drives me every day.

What do you do in the off-season to get away from the pressures of playing in the NFL? Best case scenario, the off-season doesn’t start until mid February – that means we are playing in the Super Bowl. But generally speaking, I try to take some time off right at the beginning of the off-season to get away and decompress a little bit. The season is all focus and grind, so when you get a chance for a break, it feels good to blow off a little steam and relax. I really like the ocean and I try to get down to the beach as much as possible during the off-season. My dad has always taken us fishing and I try to get out on the water with him during the off-season. I love to fish, both with rod and reel and spear fishing. This summer we traveled to Cabo San Lucas with my dad and won a marlin tournament, which was a lot of fun. I also go hunting with my dad and my brothers when we can all get some time off. I’m not sure if I’d consider myself a foodie, but I love eating at great restaurants. I’ve been around some great restaurants while playing in New York/New Jersey and Philadelphia. I have an appreciation for the way a chef puts together a restaurant concept and then delivers a great meal and an experience for the customer. I’ve had a chance to meet and eat with some great chefs like Jose Garces, Mario Batali, Bruno Serato, Michael Mina and my friend from Nobu that recently passed away, Shin Tsujimura. Then I get back home and get started with my training. I think most folks would be surprised at how much work goes into the off-season. I do a lot of preventative maintenance work on my body to help avoid injury and I build strength that can be lost over the course of a season. I also work a lot on my core, using specialized workouts and yoga. At the same time, I watch all of the tape from the previous season to evaluate the good and the bad. It makes for pretty long days that sometimes run about 12 hours. I also try to train with teammates for about a week during the off-season; usually a few weeks before training camp. We get together to watch film and work on the field to gain some continuity on the more technical pieces of the offense. Before you know it, it’s time to report to camp and chase that Lombardi trophy one more time.

What’s the craziest/weirdest fan story? There have been lots of interesting encounters with fans. I remember back at USC that there was a strong contingent of Hispanic fans that would come to games in luchador gear with “Viva Sanchez” signs. They would wear luchador masks and cheer like mad men at the Coliseum. I had a chance to meet them after one of our games and they were great people who loved the Trojans and had embraced me as the USC quarterback. There were a couple of Jets fans that took on the same look while I was in New York. They wore luchador masks and held the “Viva Sanchez” signs as well. I know my mom met them at a few of the games and had a blast. Then there was a time on vacation that I came across some Jets fans on a remote beach in Mexico. I was on vacation, but still throwing and training on the beach. I was going through my workout on an out-of-the-way beach that you could only reach by boat. There were very few tourists there and even fewer American tourists. Then, out of nowhere as I was going through my workout, a young boy and his father walked up and said, “Hey, aren’t you Mark Sanchez?” I looked up and laughed because I didn’t think anyone would ever spot me working out at such a remote location. Turns out they were big Jets fans from New York also on vacation. We took a couple of pictures and I threw a few passes to the young guy. They were great people.

We heard that you do a lot of charity work, which foundations do you support and can you detail why they’re so important to you? I enjoy working in the community, especially with young people. In Philadelphia I’m part of Community Monday, and each week we collaborate with a local organization to support young people. I’ve had an opportunity to meet some great kids through Children’s Hospital Philadelphia, Ronald McDonald House, Habitat for Humanity, Philadelphia Horticultural Society and Eagles Youth Partnerships. In California, I’ve had a longstanding relationship with Danny Hernandez and the Hollenbeck Youth Center in East Los Angeles. I connected with the HYC during my USC days. Danny and the kids have always been so supportive of me and I’m proud to have been part of organization over the years. I also have worked with a number of charitable groups in Orange County, including Orangewood, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), Caterina’s Club, Children’s Hospital Orange County and Food for Kids in Long Beach. I think it’s important to use any platform I’ve been blessed with to help others around me. Every time I’m in the community I’m inspired by the kids and it reminds me to keep a perspective on life and to truly value what is most important.

Jeep Wrangler JK

Wheels & Tires
20x9 TIS 535B wheels
285/55R20 Nitto Trail Grappler

Pro Comp 2.5" Suspension Lift

Armor & Protection
Smittybilt XRC Front Bumper
Smittybilt XRC Rear Bumper
Smittybilt XRC Rock Sliders

Recovery Equipment
ProComp Winch
Factor 55 ProLink Winch Safety Thimble

Smittybilt XRC Flat Fender Flares
American Fastbacks Front Grille
Avery Arctic Camo Vinyl Wrap installed by DH Wraps

Roadwire Leather Seats
Husky Liners X-Act Contour Floor Mats