Tim Tebow never got a chance with the New York Jets. They brought him in last year with much fanfare and for reasons still unknown, did not allow him to play quarterback, even when their pathetic, laughable season had come to an inevitable collapse.
The Jets cut Tebow Monday. Unlike the massive press conference announcing his arrival last year, it was announced in a three-paragraph news release.
“We have a great deal of respect for Tim Tebow,” coach Rex Ryan said. “Unfortunately, things did not work out the way we all had hoped. Tim is an extremely hard worker, evident by the shape he came back in this offseason. We wish him the best moving forward.”
Ryan and general manager John Idzik informed Tebow early Monday morning in a face-to-face meeting at the team’s facility before he was expected to work out with teammates, a source said. Tebow left the building shortly thereafter.
Tebow was dressed in his workout clothes Monday when he was called to Idzik’s office, league sources told ESPN New York.
Tebow,who had led the Denver Broncos to the playoffs the previous year and threw a game-winning touchdown to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers, might not have been the most technically sound or accurate quarterback in the league. He might have even been grossly overrated as many contend.
But he deserved a shot. He was the ideal teammate. He worked hard. He said the right things. He even took paying the up-back in punt formations without complaint. He watched in silence as Mark Sanchez butchered the quarterback position. And when the team was eliminated from playoff contention, they started third-string Greg MeElroy over Tebow — a true slap in the face.
After using a second-round pick on former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith last week, the Jets had six quarterbacks on the roster, and someone had to go. The Jets tried for months to trade Tebow, sources said.
Trade efforts by his agent, Jimmy Sexton, were unsuccessful when Tebow refused a few offers to switch to tight end.
Tebow attended the first two weeks of the offseason program. In fact, he reported 12 pounds under his 2012 playing weight. Despite vague comments by team officials, they never had any intention of retaining him.
The Tebow trade never came close to living up to the hype, as Tebow played only 77 offensive snaps. It became apparent late in the season that he’d be one-and-done in New York.
The final Tebow bill: It cost the Jets a fourth-round pick and $1.5 million in salary, plus $2.5 million they had to pay the Broncos to satisfy part of the trade agreement.
The ill-fated trade also contributed to the demise of general manager Mike Tannenbaum, who was fired after the 6-10 season.
“It’s just a trade that didn’t work out,” Tannenbaum told ESPNNewYork.com after the season. “Each year, we’ll make 200-plus transactions. Some worked out, some didn’t.”
Tebow recently spent time at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., honing his oft-criticized mechanics with former NFL quarterback-turned-instructor Chris Weinke. He also worked out in the Tampa area with former Jets quarterback Vinnie Testeverde.
Known for his eternal optimism, Tebow has refused to bash his New York experience.
“I felt like it was a learning opportunity for me,” he said at the end of the season, reflecting on the year that wasn’t. “There was a lot that I’ll take from it. There’s a lot that I learned, and there are lot of relationships that I’ve built, so I know that it happened for a reason.”