Mark Sanchez's bye-week break consisted of camping, hunting, fishing, male bonding and cheerleading at his alma maters.
Sanchez spent two days in the northern New Jersey woods, camping with fellow quarterbacks Mark Brunell and Kevin O'Connell. (Greg McElroy was on a family vacation.) Sanchez, appearing in his weekly spot Tuesday on ESPN New York 1050's "The Michael Kay Show," said Brunell killed a couple of deer with his bow. He and O'Connell served as spotters and trackers, not shooters.
Sanchez said they caught fish and hung around a campfire, telling Rex Ryan stories. Only kidding; he didn't say that.
"We talked about the season, we talked about our families, we talked about guy stuff," he said. "It was cool. It was really fun."
After that, Sanchez flew home to California to watch his old schools, Mission Viejo High School and USC. Mission Viejo won, USC didn't, losing a thriller to Stanford. He said he was struck by how supportive the home crowd was to RB Curtis McNeal, who fumbled in the end zone in overtime.
Sanchez, who was on the field late in the triple-OT game, was near McNeal as they walked through the tunnel to the locker room. The Jets' QB said the fans weren't booing or ripping McNeal for costing USC the game, and he noted the stark contrast to pro crowds. At one point, Sanchez almost seemed to be pining for the innocent days of college ball.
"You throw a pick at the end of a game or you fumble at the end of a game and lose, oh, man, put some ear plugs in and walk in the locker room, and don't even bother picking up a paper for about a week and a half," said Sanchez, describing his current world. "It's such a different game and the expectations are so different. It just reminded me of where I'm at -- how lucky I am to be where I'm at -- and to remind myself you have to have thick skin here."
It was the second time in a week that Sanchez talked about how tough it is to play quarterback in New York. On a Los Angeles-based radio show last week, he discussed the fickle nature of fans and media.
Sanchez said he wasn't complaining.
"It's a job, it's a different atmosphere," he said, "but it was so different to see that. You almost forget, you forget what it was like there."
And to think, he's had it relatively easy in New York.