NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As the Jets’ matchup against the St. Louis Rams looms, the talk surrounding Gang Green continues to be the anonymous criticism of Tim Tebow, most notably the remark that he’s “terrible.”
Which player or players said it? What was their motive? And why now?
These are the unanswered questions, and they will most likely remain unanswered with the Week 11 contest just two days away.
But some players — and former players — have opinions on the matter, and they’ve begun to express them as the media attention grows.
On his radio show, former Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson pointed the finger at Antonio Cromartie and Bart Scott as the possible unnamed players, something they both strongly denied.
And now, according to one player, the feeling around the Jets’ locker room is that the comments first reported by Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News were concocted out of thin air, reported Kristian Dyer of Metro New York.
One big conspiracy? The anonymous Jet thinks it’s certainly a possibility.
“That one right there (that Tebow is ‘terrible’), we don’t know if that necessarily came out of the locker room,” the player told Dyer. “We think that was made up or that was from an old story that he took and rewrote again. We don’t think that came from here and was recent. Whatever one comes from in here has a name on it, like the [Matt] Slauson one, we talked about it and moved on.
“But we’re not buying all this spin that is coming out right now, and we’re not necessarily buying that the quote came out recently or even from this locker room.”
On Friday morning, Daily News columnist Gary Myers defended his colleague to WFAN co-hosts Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton, saying that he has no question that Mehta’s report was nothing but the truth.
“It is accurate … I think Manish is a great reporter, and he’s got that place wired,” Myers said.
As for Slauson, who insists that he didn’t make his derogatory remarks recently?
“Within the last three weeks, he did say that,” Myers said. “I know that. Manish did tell me that, and I trust him on that because he’s never not told me the truth.”
Many Jets have adamantly insisted that the controversy isn’t bothering them — as they feel that the quotes don’t accurately portray the sentiment in the locker room — and have even indicated that this incident has brought the team closer.
“The media is making this an issue, we’re not making it an issue,” the player said. “We’re not even really concerned about it because we’re not buying it.”
Owner Woody Johnson agrees that the team is unified, and despite his frustration with the team’s on-field play, he seems to feel that his 3-6 team still has its integrity.
“Anonymous people don’t speak for the New York Jets, they really don’t,” Johnson said. “I’m out here every day talking to players, looking at players, talking to the coaches, meeting with the coaches and the players, so I think I’m a reasonably good judge. I’m not a coach, but I’ve been around this for 13 years now … I see this team as really tight knit.
“Maybe it’s because of the stories that have been circulating recently — the unfair criticism and the anonymous criticism particularly — which is kind of cowardly in my opinion. Put your name on it. If you have a criticism, stand up and we’ll be glad to talk to you about it. I think it is having kind of an effect of maybe bringing the guys closer.”
Tebow has barely played on the offensive side of the ball this season, completing just five of six passes for 40 yards. He’s also only rushed the ball 27 times for 92 yards. He doesn’t have a touchdown on the season.
Do you believe that these quotes were made up by the media, or is this team just trying to limit the damage? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…