Jets pick rookie QB Sanchez

The future is now for the new face of the New York Jets, Mark Sanchez.

Sanchez was selected as the team’s starting quarterback by coach Rex Ryan on Wednesday, making him the first rookie slated to open a season under center for the Jets.

“This comes with a lot of responsibility,” a beaming Sanchez said. “As happy as I am, I know that this is just the beginning, and I’m just excited, really excited, to get to play with such great players.”

The fifth overall draft pick out of Southern California beat out Kellen Clemens for the job and will make his regular-season debut at Houston on Sept. 13.

“This is something I’ve always wanted to do and dreams are coming true now,” Sanchez said. “It’s a special opportunity.”

Ryan, who made the announcement after practice, said early in training camp he’d like to make a decision on a starter by the Jets’ third exhibition game.

“I think Mark gives us the best opportunity to win,” Ryan said, “and I think that’s what I owe this franchise.”

The Jets’ next exhibition game is Saturday against the Giants.

Sanchez replaces Brett Favre as the starter after generally showing poise and solid decision-making skills during training camp.

Ryan met with Sanchez and Clemens on Wednesday morning and told them of his choice.

The last time a rookie started a season for the franchise was in 1960, when Dick Jamieson quarterbacked the then-Titans.

Sanchez struggled early in his start at Baltimore in a game Monday night, but he threw a touchdown pass to Leon Washington to cap his final series. Sanchez was 3-for-8 for 43 yards and had an interception.

“I think it’s not about just one game, and I think that defense – I’m not making excuses here – but they’re a great group,” Sanchez said. “They make veteran quarterbacks look silly out there.

“It wasn’t my best game, that’s for sure. Do I need to improve? Absolutely.”

Meanwhile, Clemens was 5-for-10 for 60 yards and a score, but also had an interception returned for a TD.

Cable will be questioned

Napa, Calif., investigators are planning to interview Oakland Raiders coach Tom Cable about an alleged altercation that ended with assistant Randy Hanson in the hospital.

A spokesperson for the Napa police department told that Cable, who is from Snohomish, would be interviewed as part of the investigation, but the spokesperson did not provide a date.

Hanson was hospitalized with a broken bone in his face after the Aug. 5 attack that he told police was initiated by a member of the Raiders coaching staff at the team’s training camp hotel in Napa. Internet reports said Cable attacked Hanson during a meeting with some of the team’s defensive coaches.

Cable has said nothing happened. The NFL also is investigating.

49ers QB Hill hurting

Days after being anointed the 49ers’ starting quarterback, Shaun Hill suffered a back injury that could keep him on the sideline this weekend.

Hill tried to practice Wednesday, but a lower-back strain proved worse than expected. Hill threw just one pass before calling it a wrap.

With Hill and Alex Smith (sprained thumb) on the shelf, rookie Nate Davis and veteran Damon Huard shared quarterback duties for the remainder of the double-day practice.

Those two might be the only quarterbacks healthy enough to face the Cowboys on Saturday.

Little a Hall of Fame finalist

Former Broncos running back Floyd Little says he had given up hope of ever making it on the Pro Football Hall of Fame ballot.

Little told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his home in Seattle that after a quarter-century of hoping and praying he figured that his final football dream would go unfulfilled.

The Hall’s senior committee, however, chose the 67-year-old Little, who gained more than 12,000 total yards in the NFL, and Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, a star defensive back before becoming a coach, as finalists for the Hall on Tuesday.

They will join 15 modern-era candidates on the complete list of finalists for the 2010 class, which will be voted on Feb. 6 at the Super Bowl in Miami. Up to two senior candidates and five modern-era hopefuls can be elected.

Little owns a Ford dealership in Federal Way.

Extra points

Carolina running back DeAngelo Williams missed the team’s Wednesday practice with what coach John Fox called a “sore knee.” ... The Broncos moved to bolster their depth at quarterback by signing free agent Ingle Martin. Chris Simms suffered a high-ankle sprain during Saturday’s 27-13 loss at Seattle. ... Ravens tight end L.J. Smith could miss the rest of the exhibition season with a pulled hamstring, and defensive tackle Kelly Gregg might also be sidelined for an extended stretch because of a shoulder injury. Both were injured in Monday’s 24-23 win over the Jets. ... Bears defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek will undergo arthroscopic surgery this week on his right knee. The oft-injured Dvoracek sprained his right medial collateral ligament in Saturday night’s 17-3 victory over the Giants. ...

Arizona wide receiver Anquan Boldin sat out practice with a sore right hamstring and probably will miss the Cardinals’ game against Green Bay on Friday. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said an MRI showed no serious injury. The Cardinals might also be without wide receiver Steve Breaston (bruised knee). ... A woman who has accused Ben Roethlisberger of raping her at a Lake Tahoe hotel drafted her own resignation letter in an e-mail as a spoof after having sex with the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, according to court documents filed by lawyers seeking to dismiss the case on behalf of seven casino employees.