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Edwards: Jets babied Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez is set to begin a new chapter in his career Monday night, when he makes his first start for the Philadelphia Eagles. But he can't escape certain voices from his past.

Former New York Jets teammate Braylon Edwards, reflecting on Sanchez's uneven tenure with the team, said Friday that the veteran quarterback was coddled during his time in New York.

"Mark was 20 years old when he was drafted -- he was a kid. They babied him, and never really allowed him to man up in the NFL, which is a league full of men."
Braylon Edwards, on Jets' handling of former teammate Mark Sanchez

"I believe early on his career, when he was with the Jets, they babied him," Edwards told 97.5 The Fanatic, a Philadelphia radio station.

Edwards was one of Sanchez's favorite targets in 2009 and 2010, when the Jets reached back-to-back AFC Championship Games. Sanchez, drafted fifth overall in 2009, was a Day 1 starter.

"You have to remember, Mark was 20 years old when he was drafted [sic; he was actually drafted at 22] -- he was a kid," said Edwards, adding that he enjoyed Sanchez as a teammate. "They babied him and never really allowed him to man up in the NFL, which is a league full of men."

This isn't the first time Edwards has criticized the Jets' handling of Sanchez. In 2012, he blasted the Jets on Twitter, calling the organization "idiots" and claiming it was unfair to blame Sanchez for the team's struggles that year.

A week later, the Jets made a bizarre move, claiming Edwards on waivers. Naturally, he apologized.

Sanchez's interceptions piled up, and he was benched in 2012, essentially ending his run with the Jets. He missed the entire 2013 season with a shoulder injury and was released last March.

Sanchez, who signed a one-year contract with the Eagles, has replaced the injured Nick Foles and will make his starting debut against the Carolina Panthers.

"We had a good team that allowed him to not grow up, if you will," said Edwards, alluding to the 2009 and 2010 seasons. "When they took away the pieces, that's when you saw the decline of Mark Sanchez.

"Flash forward, I think those circumstances of his last three years with the Jets really allowed him to take hardship, take scares, and learn from them."

The Jets have heard the coddling criticism before. It came up frequently during Sanchez's tenure, mainly because they never had a viable backup to push him.