Tebow Touches Down in New York
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Tim Tebow is coming to New York. Really.
After a big false start, the New York Jets pulled off a
Tebow-like comeback Wednesday night, getting the quarterback who
turned the Denver Broncos from an also-ran into a playoff team last
season and became the NFL’s most talked-about player _ for a
fourth- and sixth-round draft pick.
Now, Tebowmania is opening on Broadway.
Eight hours after initially agreeing to a deal, the teams
completed the trade that was hung up when the Jets apparently
balked at repaying Denver more than $5 million for a salary advance
due Tebow. The two sides agreed to split that cost, and Jets
general manager Mike Tannenbaum said the team was “comfortable
with the compensation.”
He said there was a disagreement about how to handle the salary
advance after Denver received the papers.
“We knew what the contract was,” he said. “We had read it.”
Despite ultimately pulling off the deal for Tebow, it’s just
another bizarre moment for the Jets, a team that has had its share
of them over the years, conjuring memories of Bill Belichick’s
hiring as coach and his resignation one day later.
Just a few weeks after “Linsanity” swept the area and the rest
of the NBA with the Knicks’ sensational Jeremy Lin, “Timsanity”
now will take over New York.
“You’ve got a tough player on the field, a leader in the locker
room and a guy who shares the faith that I share,” Jets defensive
end Mike DeVito said. “So, I’m very grateful to have him on our
team, and I feel it’s going to really benefit us as a whole.”
But not everyone’s a fan.
Another teammate, cornerback Antonio Cromartie, took to Twitter
on Wednesday to express his confidence in Sanchez and the offense
as structured before the deal.
“Y bring Tebow in when we need to bring in more Weapons for
(at)Mark_Sanchez,” Cromartie tweeted. “Let’s build the team
around him. We already signed to 3 year ext.”
But in a conference call Wednesday night, Tannenbaum emphasized
that the team is committed to Sanchez.
“Mark Sanchez is, has been and will be our starting
quarterback,” he said.
The Jets signed Drew Stanton last week to be their No. 2
quarterback, ahead of Greg McElroy, the team’s seventh-round draft
pick last year. Tannenbaum said Wednesday night that Tebow will be
the No. 2 QB. The Jets haven’t ruled out carrying 4 quarterbacks
and will assess that in the coming weeks.
Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath, who led the Jets to their
only Super Bowl title in 1969, didn’t need time to offer his
assessment, weighing in before the deal was even done.
“I’m just sorry that I can’t agree with this situation. I think
it’s just a publicity stunt. I can’t go with it. I think it’s
wrong,” Namath told 1050 ESPN Radio on Wednesday. “I don’t think
they know what they’re doing over there.”
The effect Tebow’s presence will have on Sanchez remains to be
seen. The Jets appear to be committed to him financially as their
starter for at least the next two years, but a restless fan base
that got down on Sanchez as he struggled late last season could
call for Tebow to take over at the first sign of trouble.
Two minutes after the Jets initially posted the trade _ in which
they’ll get a seventh-round pick in 2012 _ on its Facebook page,
there were 874 “likes,” 366 comments and 247 shares. Most of the
comments ran along the lines of: “I might cry” and “He is not
welcome here, another terrible decision.”
The Jets certainly will have lots of explaining to do: Where was
the misunderstanding? Who didn’t read the fine print? Why did the
Jets announce the trade on its site and Facebook page before it was
Sure, they got headlines and were the talk of sports radio _
even on a day when the New Orleans Saints received unprecedented
punishment from the NFL for a bounty system that rocked the
football world. Head coach Sean Payton was suspended without pay
for next season, and former defensive coordinator Greg Williams,
now with St. Louis, was banned indefinitely.
But even all that couldn’t overshadow another embarrassing
episode for a franchise that has had to explain away several
missteps in recent years.
The Jets are hoping Tebow can help change all that.
Tebow led the Broncos to the playoffs last season _ along the
way beating Sanchez and the Jets, who missed the postseason. But
Denver executive John Elway believed Manning gave the team a better
chance at winning a championship now.
For the Jets, Tebow adds a unique dimension to the offense,
including running the team’s wildcat package _ something new
offensive coordinator Tony Sparano enjoys using. He also provides a
solid presence in a locker room that was rife with infighting last
season _ particularly between Sanchez and wide receiver Santonio
He also brings with him a flock of fervent fans for reasons that
have to do as much with his faith as his football skills. A devout
Christian, he’s been a role model since his days at Florida, when
he led the Gators to two national titles and captured the Heisman
Denver started shopping Tebow after signing Peyton Manning, and
the Jets were considered a long shot as late as Tuesday night. But
New York went hard after Tebow, envisioning him as a versatile
complement to starter Mark Sanchez, who received a $40.5 million
contract extension, with $20.5 million guaranteed, earlier this
month. The Jets also had pursued Manning, but fell out of that race
early when there wasn’t mutual interest.
As part of Tebow’s $11.25 million, five-year contract he signed
as a rookie in 2010, he had a $6.277 million advance due 29 days
after the start of the 2011 league year. That money was paid to him
in August after the NFL lockout ended. The trade stalled over the
payment the Jets would owe the Broncos from that advance.
That allowed Jacksonville to get back into the hunt, and it came
down to the Jaguars and Jets.
“I think we have a duty to consider all avenues of improving
the Jaguars on and off the field, especially given the unique
circumstances involving the player,” Jaguars owner Shad Khan said
in a statement. “I am very satisfied with the outcome.”
On Tuesday, Sanchez spoke highly of both Tebow and Manning on
Fox Sports Radio in Los Angeles.
“I think Peyton is going to do great, and I think Tim is going
to do great no matter what happens,” Sanchez said on “The Petros
& Money Show.” “He can learn from one of the best quarterbacks to
ever play or he moves on somewhere else and uses his skills at
another ball club. He definitely has talent. He knows how to win.
He knows how to impact players, so both guys are really in a good
situation. It’ll work out for both of them.”
Tebow’s days were numbered in Denver when Manning chose the
Broncos as his next destination. They are two entirely different
quarterbacks and it made little sense to keep Tebow as a backup
because the Broncos were going to have a vastly different offense
under Manning, one of the most precise passers in league history.
Elway and Fox called Tebow on Monday night to tell him it was
possible he would be traded.
Elway said he wanted to do right by Tebow, who took over a 1-4
team and led the Broncos to the AFC West title and a playoff win
“As a former player, I know the last two weeks were not easy
for Tim,” Elway said in a statement. “He was put in a difficult
situation, and I commend him for how he handled it with the same
first-class manner he displayed throughout his career in Denver.”
AP Sports Writers Doug Ferguson in Orlando, Fla., Mark Long in
Jacksonville, Fla., and Arnie Stapleton and Pat Graham in Denver
contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)