As far as Tim Tebow is concerned, he is fine with jokes about his faith and highly publicized virginity. In fact, the Jets backup quarterback just wants to be one of the guys.
The razzing began two weeks ago when Tebow was serenaded with chants of “Lolo” by his teammates once he entered the locker room. The catcalls were references to Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones, who recently admitted that she is still a virgin.
The talk on Twitter got more heated as Jones fanned the flames and even flirted with Tebow with her tweets. This was too good for center Nick Mangold, who last week answered questions outside his locker wearing a shirt that poked fun at Tebow and Jones and tried to instigate a date between the two of them.
Asked on Thursday by Metro New York if he was aware of the Mangold T-shirt, Tebow acknowledged that while he wasn’t present to see the shirt he certainly heard about it.
“I heard about it; I did hear about it,” Tebow said. “We had some laughs in the training room. I didn’t actually see it in here. I was already working out.”
It is of course part of the territory for Tebow who, despite being a backup quarterback, is easily the biggest media draw on the team. Tebow is on the record as saying that he, like the Olympian Jones, is a virgin waiting for marriage and has become a pop culture icon to the millions of evangelicals who share a similar faith.
At the start of team workouts last month, the always outspoken Bart Scott yelled across the locker room at Tebow, asking to be baptized. The boisterous Scott drew a laugh from Tebow, but the Jets quarterback sees Mangold’s humor as a sign of being accepted in the locker room.
“I hope so. We have a good time, going back and forth and have some laughs,” Tebow said. “Nick is good at a lot of jokes too. So he tends to make everyone laugh.”
But fans and the media weren’t laughing when the Jets made the trade in March to bring Tebow aboard, with many predicting disaster in the locker room. The locker room was poisonous at times in 2011, especially related to receiver Santonio Holmes, and adding Tebow’s run-heavy approach certainly wasn’t seen as an ideal solution to this problem.
Holmes had only positives to say about Tebow, even as the third-year quarterback’s Wildcat package will likely cut into the number of passes the Jets will throw in a game.
“He’s learning how to become more of a quarterback, you know? He’s understanding; he’s accepting his role. He’s listening to the coaches. He’s going through his mechanics; he’s working on his mechanics,” Holmes said. “He’s understanding that this offense has a lot concepts and build-ups and he’s going to do what he has to do to fit in.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for more offseason news.