As a crush of reporters, photographers and TV cameras swarmed Mark Sanchez in the middle of the locker room, David Garrard spoke to a small group of reporters in a corner of the room.

The setting was a bit different, but Garrard’s resolve was as obvious as that of Sanchez, one of his competitors in the battle to be the Jets’ quarterback.

"As long as I’m healthy," Garrard said, "and able to continue to work with the team and don’t have setbacks with my knee or my back or anything like that, then I know that I have the ability to [be the starter]. But I can’t talk about it. I’ve still got to go out on the field and do it."

Garrard believes he can, even though he hasn’t started an NFL game since Dec. 26, 2010 with Jacksonville. He missed the 2011 season because of a back injury and had a chance to be the opening day starter for Miami last season before a knee injury took him out of the running.

Garrard was signed by the Jets in March. His competitors include Sanchez, scheduled to make a guaranteed $8.25 million this season, and second-round pick Geno Smith of West Virginia. Garrard was asked if he was worried that politics might influence the team’s eventual decision, given the status of those two players.

"I’m so old that I don’t care about politics anymore," the 35-year-old Garrard said. "I’m going to give it my all and if I still have a locker at the end of the day, that’s great.

"My thing is show them what I can do," he added. "I don’t care about anybody else. I’ve just got to show them what I can do. And what I can do, I know has been pretty good in the past. So hopefully, I can be back at that same level and stay healthy."

He also said he’s not worried about the fact that general manager John Idzik has said all five quarterbacks on the roster will be part of the competition.