Former Jets QB Chad Pennington (a first-round pick in 2000) made a cameo appearance at the team's training camp in Cortland, N.Y., on Tuesday. Pennington was invited by OC Tony Sparano, who was Pennington's head coach when he was with the Dolphins, Jets coach Rex
Ryan and Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum.
Pennington has been in regular touch with QB Mark Sanchez since the two met privately in February. Pennington has provided what he called a "sounding board" for Sanchez, offering him insight and advice based on his own experiences being a quarterback for the Jets.
Pennington said he's noticed a lot of improvement in Sanchez as he heads into his fourth season.
"Mark is throwing the ball better than I've ever seen," he said. "He's got excellent control with his throws and his ball placement. He's definitely gotten better over the offseason and made a point to bring it up to the next level."
Pennington was also extremely enthusiastic about Sparano coming on board in New York.
"Tony Sparano is the perfect hire for this team," Pennington said. "He brings an edge to this offense. You can see him. He's extremely fiery. He's a grinder. He's a go-getter, and I think
they're going to like what Tony brings to the table. Tony understands that the game is not played on the chalkboard. It's played out in between the white lines and it's a game that has a huge human element."
As for his own future, Pennington said he is officially retired from the NFL. He said he doesn't want to chance what would happen to his shoulder should he take an awkward hit. He laughed when he recalled the conversation he had with the NFLPA when he called to ask the
procedure for retiring. This is what he was told: "'If you don't have a contract, you're retired.'"