Mark Sanchez's GQ photo spread has been all the rage in New York this week, and it seems like it had quite a big effect on him as well. According to Page Six, he didn't have to work that hard to portray a man in lust with model Hilary Rhoda while they were posing together.
The former USC hunk is now dating Hilary Rhoda, the Estee Lauder model who posed with him in a bikini for a racy spread in the new GQ. "They met on the shoot three months ago and started dating. There was instant chemistry," says a source. Adds another: "Everyone in her crew is buzzing about their relationship." A rep for Rhoda declined to comment. A spokesman for the Jets said, "We never discuss the private lives of our players."
That policy on the private lives of players seems like it's going to be a little harder to enforce than it was during the Chad Pennington era. With Chad, the most daring question would be if it was really true that he picked up a triple word score while playing Scrabble with his wife, but Sanchez seems destined for a lifestyle more in line with Broadway Joe than Cul-de-sac Chad.
Joe Namath had nothing but good things to say about the man taking his place as a fixture in the Jets lineup and the gossip pages, but Giants quarterback Eli Manningwasn't quite so bullish when it came to Sanchez's extracurricular activities. "There’s nothing wrong with being on a magazine or doing those types of things," Manning said. "I wouldn’t take off my shirt but that’s what he’s got to do."
Eli should probably think before he speaks, but the backlash on Sanchez will be swift if he doesn't produce right away. Matt Leinart, another former USC Trojan, has been pilloried as a dilettante since he got to the NFL because of his off-field activities and Phoenix doesn't have Page Six and others monitoring his every move.