Mark Sanchez, proud of his Mexican heritage, pushes to learn the language

QB Mark Sanchez is taking part in practice this week with a soft cast protection his left thumb. AP Photo/David Zalubowski

New Denver Broncos quarterback Mark Sanchez has plenty to learn while trying to earn a starting spot with the Super Bowl champions. He's got to understand Denver's play calls, know his top receivers and grasp the team's offensive scheme.

Still, he's making time for another priority, forging a stronger connection to his heritage from Mexico. In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, Sanchez revealed that improving his Spanish was important to him, partly because he'd been embarrassed by his poor language skills in the past.

"I really felt embarrassed because I can’t communicate with these people who support me," Sanchez explained.

It's more of an issue in Denver partly because due to changing demographics, the city has a sizable Mexican-American population.

Sanchez is aware of this, saying of Denver, "It’s a really big media market, and it has a large Hispanic community."

Though the quarterback explained that his parents understood and spoke Spanish at home, he himself didn't really learn the language until he started practicing with a language course a few years ago, which helped him improve considerably.

"I just did an interview the other night at the Children’s Hospital prom for Telemundo," Sanchez said. "I couldn’t have done that four or five years ago."

Sanchez mentioned the loyalty and enthusiasm of Hispanic fans as another motivation to reach out to the community in their native language. "It’s a proud heritage, and we’re lucky enough to be in a country where you can celebrate where you’re from."

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