Lost in the bright lights of the five-man quarterback competition and the mundane matter of who’s going to throw the football for the Jets in 2013 is a less-ballyhooed four-way battle for who’s going to run the ball.

Shonn Greene, the Jets’ lead running back for the last two seasons but never a player who kept a single defensive coordinator up late at night, left via free agency with the team never making any serious move to re-sign him.

So the Jets, who have not had a legitimate lead back since they opted not to bring back Thomas Jones after the 2009 season, are in search of consistent big-play backfield talent. And their choices are not exactly between the likes of Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith and Adrian Peterson.

Whether any of the four players competing for the lead role is that player remains very much in question. Two of them, former Saint Chris Ivory and former Raider Mike Goodson, are newcomers. The other two are Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell.

Combined, the four have 651 attempts, 2,969 yards, a 4.5-yard average and 15 TDs. None of the four players has ever been a lead back.

Of the four, McKnight, in his fourth season with the Jets, is most vocal about his burning desire to be the man.

“Words can’t even describe how badly I want to be that guy,’’ McKnight told The Post during a break in offseason workouts last week at the team’s Florham Park, N.J., training facility. “I’ve got an edge — a fire to me ... so I can show everybody that I can play.

“When I’m out there practicing it’s like I’m [ticked] off. I’ve got to play the game [ticked] off. That gives me the edge and keeps me on top of my game.’’

McKnight undoubtedly had his nose bent out of shape when the Jets acquired Goodson as a free agent and Ivory in a draft-day trade with New Orleans for a fourth-round pick. He surely saw those moves as the team not having confidence in him.

“I just felt like people are still doubting me, so it’s time for me to go out there and show ’em,’’ he said.