Tebow the Jet: Celebrity backup meets media

By Dennis Waszak Jr.

Associated Press

Published: Monday, March 26 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Tim Tebow holds his first news conference with the New York Jets, Monday, March 26, 2012, in Florham Park, N.J. Tebow, who led the Denver Broncos to the playoffs last year, was acquired in a trade Wednesday with Denver and will serve as the backup quarterback to Mark Sanchez.

Mark Lennihan, Associated Press

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Tim Tebow got his first New York close-up Monday.

Speaking at news conference in the Jets field house, because the media crush was so great the session couldn't be held in the team's normal press room, the headline-grabbing New York backup QB went out of his way to play down any conflict between himself and starter Mark Sanchez.

"Me and Mark have a great relationship," Tebow said. "We've been friends past three years and have already texted back and forth. We are going to have a great working relationship and I think we'll have a lot of fun together."

Acquired last Wednesday from Denver, the exciting but flawed quarterback is coming off a season of incredible comebacks with the Broncos. The Jets are hoping he has more surprises left in him.

Tebow's new club threw him a quick challenge on Monday, sending him out alone to take questions at what was probably the biggest news conference ever for a second-string NFL player. Tebow stayed composed, speaking in an upbeat tone for more than half an hour.

Coach Rex Ryan, general manager Mike Tannenbaum and owner Woody Johnson were not in the building. They were down at the NFL meetings in Palm Beach, Fla., far away from the wild scene at the team's headquarters.

While Ryan and Tannenbaum insist Sanchez is entrenched as the first-string quarterback, Tebow will also see plenty of time on the field and certainly much more of the spotlight.

Ryan suggested on Sunday that Tebow could be used at a position other than quarterback. He kept referring to Tebow as a "football player," his ability not limited to quarterback.

"I don't see Tim just holding a clipboard," Ryan told a group of reporters while in Florida for a meeting of NFL team owners. "He's going to be playing for us. There is no doubt."

Ryan added: "There won't be a better wildcat quarterback in the game. Is that his only role? I don't believe that. We'll see."

Tebow said first and foremost he's a quarterback, and that's his hope and dream, but "however I can help the team, I am open to it."

The newest Jet has already helped his team get some attention. While the club claims the trade for Tebow was a football-related move, it was also marketing gold as the polarizing QB has occupied the back — and, in some cases, the front — pages of the New York-area tabloids. And that's just weeks after the Giants won their second Super Bowl in four years.

Legions of fans have been snatching up Tebow's green and white No. 15 jersey. The famed Carnegie Deli in Manhattan already has a sandwich named after him, and Jockey has a digital billboard ad outside the Lincoln Tunnel — on the New Jersey side — with the underwear company saying it supports "Tebow & New York."

It's been a whirlwind of a few weeks for Tebow, who just last month was declared Denver's starting quarterback going into this summer by John Elway. Not long after that, Peyton Manning was suddenly in town and Tebow was told he could get traded.

So much for "Timsanity" in Denver. Well, it has hit Broadway in full force, making "Linsanity" and the New York Knicks' sensational Jeremy Lin seem like a distant memory.

Manning was introduced as the Broncos' newest quarterback last Tuesday, and just over 24 hours later, Tebow was on the move, surprisingly headed to New York.

And then, he wasn't.

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