Heavy heart for Sanchez

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:33 AM ET

Mark Sanchez is facing the big game. His shoulder is sore. He has to find a way to outduel Peyton Manning, just about the best quarterback this side of Tom Brady. Maybe better.

And, none of it mattered.

Sometimes real life and death intervenes to make the world of games seem quite silly and not so important at all.

Sanchez was near tears this week after hearing Aiden Binkley, an 11-year-old boy from Queens, N.Y. he had befriended this year, had died from a rare form of cancer.

When the two met a few weeks ago Binkley wanted two things -- his two brothers to stay healthy and to meet Sanchez.

Aidan visited the Jets training facility and met Sanchez, who was deeply touched by the young boys battle with rhabdomyosarcoma. "My man, Aidan ... breaks my heart," Sanchez said, choking with emotion, during his weekly radio spot on ESPN.

The celebrity quarterback and his new friend were texting buddies. Sanchez still wears a wristband that Aidan gave him.

"He brought me so much inspiration. ... It's hard to talk about him," Sanchez said. "He meant the world to me. I felt like I've known him forever. ... I saw his personality. I saw his competitive spirit. I saw him fighting every day. I'm complaining about a shoulder. Are you kidding me? ... I think he was 11 years old, and he has cancer eating away at his body." Sanchez This kid is fighting every day. He's smiling every time I talk to him. I visited him at his home. I mean, he has to get carried up the stairs because he's so weak and all he wants to talk about is L.T. and Darrelle Revis and Rex Ryan and me.

"Oh, man, it kills you, just thinking about it. I love him to death."

It puts a whole different perspective on what it means to win and to lose. Sometimes, in the real world, it's more than just a game.


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