Mark Sanchez was part of three Rose Bowl champions as a quarterback at USC and went 12-1 as the starter in his senior year. That was hardly preparation for what he would endure in the NFL, where he would barely stay above .500 in a decade-long career that began with the New York Jets.
Sanchez can’t wipe those losses from his record, but federal prosecutors have taken a big step toward helping him claw back money lost through an investment that never had a chance.
Mark Sanchez seemed destined for stardom
Mark Sanchez grew up in California, where he attended the same high school that produced future USC and NFL quarterback Carson Palmer. Sanchez went 27-1 as a starter his final two seasons, earning several state and national honors. That landed him a scholarship to Southern Cal, where he played for coach Pete Carroll.
Sanchez had to bide his time behind Matt Leinart and John David Booty, earning his first extensive time with three starts as a junior in 2007 while Booty recovered from a broken finger.
He finally took over as the full-time starter in 2008, and Sanchez made the most of the opportunity. He threw for 228 yards and three touchdowns in the opener against Virginia and never looked back. By season’s end, Sanchez had thrown for 3,207 yards and 34 touchdowns, with just 10 interceptions.
Two weeks after a Rose Bowl victory over Penn State to wrap up a 12-1 season, Sanchez announced he was passing up his final season of eligibility to enter the NFL draft.
Life in the NFL didn’t pan out
The New York Jets made a trade with the Cleveland Browns to move up in order to make Mark Sanchez their top pick in the 2009 NFL draft, four spots behind No. 1 overall selection Matthew Stafford. That netted Sanchez a five-year, $50 million contract with $28 million guaranteed.
Sanchez was just 33-29 in four seasons as a starter, during which he threw 68 touchdown passes but 69 interceptions. After a shoulder injury requiring surgery caused Sanchez to miss the entire 2013 season, the Jets waived him.
The Philadelphia Eagles signed Sanchez as a backup, but he was pressed into duty at midseason when Nick Foles went down with a shoulder injury. Sanchez was 4-4 as the fill-in starter but finished with what would be the best passer rating (88.4) of his career.
That stint amounted to his last substantial action. Sanchez started two more games for the Eagles the following season and one for the Washington Redskins in 2018, but he would end his career at the age of 32 with a 37-36 record, 86 TD passes, and 89 interceptions.
Though his career didn’t get Sanchez near the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it did earn him $74.2 million in salary.
Mark Sanchez’s worst loss wasn’t in the field
Athletes making lots of money need places to invest it, and one of Sanchez’s advisers was Ash Narayan. Last week, a judge sentenced Narayan to 37 months in federal prison and ordered him to pay restitution to clients he defrauded, the U.S. attorney’s office announced.
Narayan, based in Irvine, California, was ordered to repay $18.8 million to a list of clients including former NFL quarterback Mark Sanchez and MLB pitchers Roy Oswalt and Jake Peavy. Prosecutors told the Los Angeles Times that they believe Narayan stole more than $30 million while working as an investment adviser at RGT Capital Management.
Narayan pleaded guilty in 2019 to wire fraud and tax charges.
Narayan served on the board of directors of a now-defunct sports ticket broker while allegedly steering clients’ investments into the company. The Orange County Register reported the company was never profitable.