Originally written on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 3/16/12

Mark Sanchez has become a frequent target for the media and fans, but he was skewered more than usual this offseason. Former Jets defensive tackle Kris Jenkins said Sanchez needed to grow a pair and become a team leader. At least he attached his name to his criticism. The most notable criticism came from an anonymously sourced NY Daily News article, the contents of which were refuted by some Jets personnel.

During a radio interview Thursday, Sanchez finally responded to his anonymous detractors.

“It is a gutless thing to do,” Sanchez told “The Michael Kay Show,” using the same word employed by Michael Kay to describe the anonymous people.

“You don’t put your name on what you’re saying, then you don’t speak for yourself, you don’t speak for the team — that’s how I’ve always felt about that,” Sanchez said. “If I ever had an opinion on a player, something that I wanted to talk to them about, I would just tell them.

“That’s not the way to do it, I don’t think that’s the professional way to do it, and it really didn’t bother me.”

Sanchez fielded several other questions. He said he understood why the Jets were interested in Peyton Manning, he discussed his relationship with Santonio Holmes, and he said he would make his biggest statements on the field.

“I honestly totally understood what was going on,” he said of the team’s interest in Peyton Manning. “Every team has their duty to make their team as best as possible. You’ve got a first-ballot Hall of Famer, 25 teams are probably going to be pretty interested.”

Sanchez says his relationship with Holmes is “without a doubt” workable, and he says they shared a laugh over how much their issues were publicized.

“I don’t want to speak for Santonio, but I know I underachieved,” Sanchez said to the media at a gathering Thursday. “I think there were some things I could’ve handled better with him and our communication.”

Sanchez also told the media he was wrong to say his contract extension meant he was a team leader, acknowledging that money doesn’t equate to leadership.

“I don’t think I phrased that really well,” Sanchez said of his comments. “I think it just kind of affirms the team’s belief in me…. Leadership is earned. It’s not just one contract says you’re a leader.”

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