Florham Park, N.J.– In a scene like none seen before it, the New York area media swarmed the Jets training facilities at 1 Jets Drive looking to devour Tim Tebow and everything that comes with him. Hours before noon the field house was occupied with hundreds of reporters, all equipped with cameras and notepads, just itching to get some quality sound bites from the man that’s half football player, half rock star. People have all sorts of questions about how he can handle NFL defenses, but there is no doubt that he can handle this relentless New York media.
For 32 minutes and change reporters came at him from every angle, trying to bait him into saying something controversial to no avail. He’s too polished of a public speaker to make that mistake. He calmly and graciously stood at the podium and fielded all sorts of questions, ranging from everything between how Sanchez and him will coexist, his familiarity with the coaching staff and his outspoken faith. Over and over he gushed about how “excited to be a Jet” he is and how willing he is to do whatever he can to help this team win.
“I’m so honored and humbled to be a Jet, I’m so thankful that they wanted me and I’m so excited about meeting my teammates.” Tebow said, “I’ve had the pleasure to meet quite a few already and I’m looking forward to my future as a Jet and I’m very, very excited about it.”
Tebow is smart enough to know he is walking into a storm of potential football related controversies with this team, but he hardly seems phased by it. Since the trade was announced people have wondered how Sanchez will handle his arrival? Is the Jets plan to have Tebow play quarterback or just Wildcat packages? Will he be content with being a backup or even willing to play other positions such as h-back?
“Well I think for everyone who puts on a uniform, you want to go out there and you want to play, that’s why you play the game of football and I’m excited to be a Jet. You know, to go out there and help this team anyway I can.” Tebow said, “Whatever my role is, how ever I can expand that role, I’m going to try and do that and everyday at practice I’m going to go out there and compete, try to get better as a quarterback and try to figure out anyway possible to help this team anyway I can.”
As for a potential quarterback controversy, Tebow won’t concern himself with that saying, “Well I really don’t pay too much attention to it, but I think the exciting thing is that me and Mark have a great relationship, we have had a great relationship for the last three years I think. We’ve been friends, we text back-and-forth, we’ve talked already and we’re going to have a great relationship and a great working relationship. I think we’ll have a lot of fun together.”
Since reporters speculating wildly by themselves about how Sanchez is handling this trade isn’t enough, naturally someone asked Tebow to chime in and take a guess at what’s inside Sanchez’s head, to which Tebow said, “Well from my conversations with him, he was excited. He was excited about working with me, I’m excited about working with him. I have a lot of respect for him, as a football player and a person, he’s always handled himself with so much class and integrity and he’s won a lot of games as a quarterback and I think we’ll have a great working relationship.”
Tebow wants to be a starting quarterback in this league, he’s said so since day one, but Ryan and Jets management have dreams of using him in other roles as well. So the question becomes is he willing to take the time away from perfecting his craft at quarterback to integrate himself into different positions within the offense?
“I think first and foremost I’ve always said that I’m a football player first and then a quarterback.” Tebow said, “That is my dream, that is what I want to be and it’s what I believe I am, is a quarterback. But however I can help the team, however I can make a difference, however they can use me. I’m going to work as hard as I can every time I step on that field and I will give my whole heart to being the best Jet I can possibly be and try and help this team win football games.”
Tebow passed his first test under the scrutiny of the New York media as he said all the right things and had the audience eating out of the palms of his hands. Whether he was sidestepping the topic of controversies, talking about his faith or acknowledging the insanity of this press conference by twice suggesting the press conference wasn’t his idea, but his bosses. “I have bosses too.” Tebow said to the delight of reporters.
As a young man transitioning into a full fledged icon, Tebow is an extremely impressive individual. As an athlete he is and always has been equally impressive, but where the question marks remain is how can he play the quarterback position at this level? That’s a question for another day, or another couple of months for now, but it’s one that will not be going away anytime soon unless Sanchez lights it up from the opening drive, not giving Tebow the chance to stake his claim as the starting quarterback.
At one point in the press conference Tebow was asked if Sanchez gave him any advice or preparation for playing in New York, after a breif pause he said, “He did say to get ready for yall (laughing).”
Emphasizing once again that if Tebow can handle NFL defenses like he handled the media today, he will do just fine in this league.