Sharing the Stage
Sanchez and Tebow Share Laughs, and Jets Hope It Stays That Way
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — As quarterback Greg McElroy conducted an interview after the Jets’ preseason finale Thursday in Philadelphia, Mark Sanchez started plotting the prank. Nodding toward McElroy, Sanchez motioned to the teammate standing between them to pass an orange wedge. Sanchez crept behind McElroy and shoved the fruit down the back of his T-shirt. While McElroy squirmed, Sanchez bumped fists with his co-conspirator, Tim Tebow.
That snapshot of Sanchez and Tebow — pulling a practical joke, sharing a laugh, enjoying each other’s company — should be preserved, remembered later in the season. It will be a predictor of their bonhomie in handling a delicate predicament, or proof that such camaraderie once existed
“It went from me and Mark understanding each other’s jokes to Mark and Tim really understanding each other’s jokes,” McElroy said. “Now I’m kind of on the outside looking in.”
Almost immediately, McElroy said, Tebow started picking up on their slang, calling great throws dimes, as Sanchez often does. Their competitive streaks run rampant in the quarterbacks room, where Tebow and Sanchez resemble contestants on “Jeopardy!” vying to press the button first, racing each other, and McElroy, to answer questions.
“Man, oh, man, they were really getting after it,” Coach Rex Ryan said. “They push each other that way. It’s kind of a neat thing with everyone trying to make this a controversy or pit those two against each other. You look at their body language. I hear them. What they have is genuine.”
Sparano sensed it on the sideline at MetLife Stadium during the Jets’ preseason game against Carolina. When Sanchez connected with Dustin Keller for a first down, Tebow hooted and hollered. When Tebow broke free for a long run, Sanchez reciprocated.