Tim Tebow stayed above the fray on Wednesday following a story where an unnamed teammate called him “terrible” and another implied he was an “athlete” and not a quarterback.
Such is the life of Tebow, who has been constantly questioned since a March trade sent him from Denver to New York. In recent weeks, as the losses for the 3-6 Jets continue to mount, there has been momentum for Tebow to replace starter Mark Sanchez. The Jets have won just once in their last six games and Sanchez has been subpar in nearly all those games.
A report in the New York Daily News on Wednesday quoted a defensive starter as calling Tebow “terrible” and in another quote, guard Matt Slauson seemed to be taking a shot at the Jets backup quarterback as well. Before practice, Tebow said he cleared the air with Slauson and that they “have a great relationship.”
“Some frustration, some sadness. It is never fun to hear criticism but at the same time it is something that I’ve always used as motivation and you try to get stronger from it. That’s how I approach it,” Tebow said. “I always find the good and positive in every situation and the positive in this is to work a little harder, improve and build better relationships with your teammates.”
Tebow is left to somehow turn what looks like a nasty locker room split into something that can salvage the Jets season.
“I do the next thing. I go to special teams meeting then offensive meeting then watch some more film, then get a workout, then take a shower, go home, do the next thing, improve,” Tebow said. “Just take it one step at a time. Life can be complicated and that’s why I try to simplify it. I try to be the best person I can be. I try to get better every single day, try to be a great teammate, try to improve and ultimately try to make a difference in people’s lives. When you can simplify it like that it makes life a lot easier and then you don’t have to get it all complicated and I think it takes a lot of the stress and worry out of it.”
Even while he reiterated that Sanchez is the starter, Tebow was praised by Ryan for his work ethic, a legendary characteristic that earned raves in Denver and dates back into his college days at Florida. But against the backdrop of internal criticism in his own locker room on Wednesday, his teammates said that Tebow was his typical self.
“Everybody gets criticized,” Shonn Greene told Metro. “He was the same old, same old Tim. Nothing different.”
Slauson called Tebow “an athlete” in the story, an apparent dig at the player’s ability to be a quarterback. While Slauson and Tebow did clear the air on Wednesday morning, the Jets’ left guard did reiterate that “Mark is our quarterback.” He also said that the comments about Tebow were not recent.”
“Those were long ago,” Slauson said. “So long ago, I don’t even remember.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.