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Mark Sanchez Retires

SourceQuarterback Mark Sanchez is putting away his helmet and heading to ABC/ESPN to be a college football analyst, The Post has learned.

Sources tell The Post the former Jets quarterback’s main job will be in ABC’s lead college football studio, where he will join Kevin Negandhi and Jon Vilma. Sanchez is replacing Mack Brown, who left to coach North Carolina.

This the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.

And so Mark Sanchez becomes the latest in a long line of would be Jets saviors shuffles off his mortal career coil and ascends into the eternal afterlife that is a career in broadcasting. Rex Ryan. Bart Scott. Damien Woody. Mark Brunell. And now The Sanchize. They couldn’t save the Jets, make them relevant for more than a season or two, or take away the back pages of the tabloids for any of the right reasons. But when TV is looking for someone to sit behind a desk and provide us keen insights into how you’ve got to have a good pass rush and be able to tun and stop the run, those 2009-14 Jets are the go-to franchise.

It seems like it was a hell of a lot longer than just eight years ago that the Jets gave Cleveland the No. 17 pick, the No. 52 pick and three players to move up to the No. 5 spot and draft Sanchez. He was going to be their next Joe Namath, the guy who’d quarterbacked a major college football factory and also brought the intangibles that can only come from looking like the country club pool lifeguard in a hot mom’s sex fantasy.

I’ll never forget the reaction of Jets fans to news of the trade and the selection. They were positively giddy. They had their rookie head coach in Ryan, who had immediately declared he wasn’t there to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings. They had an aggressive front office making a bold move. And a magazine cover-worthy franchise QB. Finally, they’d arrived. The only monkey in the wrench for them were a few words from Pete Carroll, saying he thought Sanchez wasn’t ready for the NFL. Which were immediately dismissed as mere mellow-harshing from a coach who’s bitter about losing his best shot at a national title.

And when the Jets went 9-7 and 11-5 with two straight trips to the AFC championship game the next two seasons, there didn’t seem to be any reason to doubt they’d made the right move and Carroll was just looking out for Carroll. The inarguable highlight in that run was his astonishing 16-for-25, 194 Yard, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 127.3 Passer Rating performance in a 28-21 win at New England in the 2010 Divisional game. That Patriots team was a wagon. Tom Brady was the unanimous league MVP. And that night, the second best quarterback on the field as everyone in the stadium sat there waiting for Sanchez to make a mistake that never came. That is No. 3 on my list of the all time most groin-kicking losses in Patriots history, behind only the two Super Bowls That Shall Not Be Named. And the consensus in virtually all of the New England media was that the Jets had passed the Patriots and created the blueprint for winning in the decade of 2010s.

Yeah. About that. …

2010 was peak Sanchez, and his career was all down a Double Black Diamond hill from there, without knowing how to ski. The Jets never made it back to the playoffs with him. He returned to his rookie form of throwing more interceptions than touchdowns, which pretty much turned out to be his factory settings as he finished his career with 86 TDs to 89 INTs. By 2012 they were welcoming the Tim Tebow traveling circus to town. In 2013 they’d draft Geno Smith to take over the quarterbacking. Sanchez missed that entire season with an injury, but was in Philly the following year. And Ryan was gone soon after that. Both of them just more false hope for a franchise that is one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of false hope.

Mark Sanchez might be good on TV. God knows the camera will love him. But regardless of how he does, he’ll always be the guy who played in some of the most unforgettable games of the Patriots’ Dynasty, good and bad. The guy at the center of perhaps the greatest single play in NFL history:

But mostly as yet another guy who taught yet another generation what it means to be a Jets fan. Godspeed, Sanchize.