Jets sign Vick to challenge Smith for QB job

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NEW YORK — Michael Vick is in for the New York Jets. Mark Sanchez is out.

And, the stage is set for one hot quarterback competition this summer with Geno Smith.

The Jets signed the former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback to a one-year deal Friday, and released Sanchez, the one-time face of the franchise.

“Anywhere I go, or any team, I’m always going to compete for the No. 1 spot,” Vick said during a conference call. “And I will encourage any other quarterback behind me or in front of me to always compete for their job, for the No. 1 spot.

“That’s how champions are made.”

Vick will present a real challenge to Smith, who played well down the stretch of his rookie season, but finished with 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. The Jets, however, never labeled Smith their starter entering the offseason - and last year’s second-round draft pick will have his work cut out during training camp if he intends to be under center in Week 1 this season.

“As of right now,” Vick said, “Geno’s the starting quarterback of this football team.”

But, Vick also made it clear that he still envisions himself as a starting-caliber player.

“I wouldn’t say I would necessarily be OK with sitting on the bench all year,” Vick said. “But, I know what I signed up for and I know what I came to New York to do.”

That means competing with Smith, helping the youngster along and getting better himself.

“At the end of the day,” Vick said of however things turn out, “I’ll be content with it.”

Vick was a free agent after spending the last five seasons with the Eagles. He will be reunited with Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who helped the quarterback have the best season of his career in Philadelphia in 2010. Vick was plagued by injuries the last three years and lost the starting job last year to Nick Foles.

Vick was still considered the top quarterback available in the offseason free-agent class. Vick said he was sold on the Jets because he enjoyed the idea of reuniting with Mornhinweg and playing for coach Rex Ryan, an opportunity he welcomed.

“I love competition and I love football,” Vick said. “And, I feel I have a lot of football left to play.”

Vick, who had a solid start in Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense, injured a hamstring in Week 5 last season. He was replaced by Foles, who led the Eagles to the NFC East title and was selected the Pro Bowl MVP. Despite losing the starting gig, Vick was praised by Kelly and team officials for being a leader in the locker room and maintaining an outstanding relationship with Foles while helping him through his second NFL season.

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