Tebow the Jet: Celebrity backup meets media

By Dennis Waszak Jr.

Associated Press

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

Tebow electrified the NFL last year by taking a 1-4 Denver team on an incredible run — seven wins in eight games, including three in overtime and another two won in the waning moments of regulation. Suddenly, the league was gripped by Tebowmania. Never mind the bad passing mechanics and Tebow's tendency to tuck the ball and run.

The Jets are hoping he has more surprises left in him — in whatever role he serves.

"Hopefully, by me being here, we can be a little bit better," Tebow said, decked out in a gray suit and a light green tie. "I think I can add something, and that's my hope and prayer."

Coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum have insisted for days that Sanchez is the unquestioned No. 1 quarterback. The two, along with owner Woody Johnson, missed Tebow's news conference because they were attending league meetings in Palm Beach, Fla. No teammates were there, either, although Tebow said he has spoken with several of them already.

"Ultimately, I'm just going to be myself and just have fun with it," he said.

And, Sanchez thinks there can be plenty of happy moments — with the two of them being key parts of the offense.

"I'm a team guy and I'll do whatever it takes to win," Sanchez said. "If changing a few things up a couple of times a game is what we need to do, I'm totally on board."

Ryan suggested 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 QB.

"I don't see Tim just holding a clipboard," Ryan said. "He's going to be playing for us. There is no doubt."

Tebow said that, first and foremost, he's a quarterback and that's the position he wants to play. But "however I can help the team, I am open to it."

Tebow also briefly spoke about his strong Christian beliefs, something that has made him much more than just a football star. He said his faith is the most important thing to him, but he didn't want that to be the focus Monday. The quarterback did think it's funny so much has been made of "Tebowing" in the last year.

"I'm pretty sure I'm not the first athlete who has gotten on a knee and prayed, but it's known as 'Tebowing,'" he said. "I'm not sure why. It probably has a little bit to do with the hype."

And there's been plenty of that, going back to his Heisman-winning days at the University of Florida. Just last month, Tebow was declared Denver's starting quarterback going into this summer. Not long afterward, four-time MVP Peyton Manning came to town and Tebow was told he could be traded.

Manning was introduced as the Broncos' newest quarterback last Tuesday, and about 24 hours later, Tebow was headed to New York.

And then, he wasn't.

A snag in the deal held things up between the Jets and Broncos, the delay centered on a salary advance due Tebow. Jacksonville, once considered one of the favorites to land their hometown star, jumped back in the hunt. But eight hours later, the Jets finally completed the trade, agreeing to pay half of the $5 million Denver owed Tebow. There was yet one more delay before the trade became official; a technicality required Tebow to sign a rewritten contract that kept him on the Broncos' salary cap until Saturday afternoon.

All that is history now.

"This is where I want to be," he said, adding that he preferred the Jets over the Jaguars because he was already familiar with New York's coaches.

He and Ryan share the same agent, and they chatted at the Super Bowl in Indianapolis last month.

"I've always watched him," Tebow said. "I got to see 'Hard Knocks,' see how he coached, and that was fun. From our conversations that we've had the last few days, I think he's just excited that I'm here. I think it's a day-by-day process to see what happens and how well, you know, the wildcat is working."

The Jets intend to make things work with Sanchez, too. After all, less than two weeks ago he was given a contract extension that included $20.5 million guaranteed.

Doesn't bother Tebow.

"Whatever my role is, however I can expand that role, I'm going to try to do that," he said. "Every day in practice, I'm going to go out there and compete and try to get better as a quarterback, try to figure out any way possible to help this team any way that I can."

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