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Tim Tebow inspired by phone call to injured teen

A phone call to 17-year-old Matt Hardy helped put the Jets’ quarterback controversy in perspective for Tim Tebow.

A phone call to 17-year-old Matt Hardy helped put the Jets’ quarterback controversy in perspective for Tim Tebow.

Hardy was hospitalized this past weekend in upstate New York after a car accident killed his friend and his girlfriend. A movement on Twitter, #TebowCallMatt, sprung to life and created some national attention. Going through his own injury after suffering two cracked ribs a month ago, Tebow was inspired to respond to the Twitter movement.

“I got a call from someone that was seeing everything and hearing the buzz and he told me what was going on. I went on there, I found the number and gave Matt a buzz and we talked for a while and he was in awesome spirits for what had taken place,” Tebow said. “Gosh, he was an inspiration to me. I tried trying to encourage, trying to say a few words of inspiration, but the way his attitude was, his focus, it was awesome.”

Hardy didn’t believe at first that it was Tebow on the phone. It took several minutes for him to be convinced.

The phone call came at a time to put life in perspective for Tebow. With the benching of starting quarterback Mark Sanchez this past Sunday, the door seemed to be opening for Tebow to get his first start as a Jet this weekend in Jacksonville. Instead, head coach Rex Ryan shut that door on that idea on Wednesday morning by naming Sanchez as the starter for this weekend.

Tebow was inactive last Sunday due to the rib injury so Greg McElroy replaced Sanchez in the game. That doesn’t mean that McElroy has supplanted Tebow on the quarterback pecking order, however.

“If he was completely healthy then Tim would be our No. 2,” Ryan said.

With an injury and a quarterback controversy swirling about him, Tebow said the call to Hardy encouraged him as much as it did the injured teenager. The phone call lasted several minutes but both Tebow and Hardy were impacted. Hardy asked Tebow to pray with him and it gave the Jets’ No. 2 quarterback a different approach and outlook on life.

One that Tebow, perhaps now more than ever, needed to get.

“Losing his friends, his girlfriend, the injuries that he has — it puts everything in perspective to know that all this trivial stuff here, we care about it but it doesn’t matter,” Tebow said. “All the craziness, if you want to call it, that’s something that matters. It keeps everything in perspective and it was definitely the best thing that’s happened to me in a while.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.

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