Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Even from the Sidelines, Tebow Dominates Discussion of the Jets

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Even from the Sidelines, Tebow Dominates Discussion of the Jets

Article excerpt

Despite reports that Tim Tebow asked out of the New York Jets' Wildcat formationon Sunday, Coach Rex Ryan said Tebow "would have gone in and played" if asked.

If the perfect microcosm of the New York Jets' season was modeled on one game, a 27-17 loss to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday would be an apt candidate.

The Jets struggled to move the ball in the second half and surrendered several big plays on defense. They gave up 11 sacks, tying a franchise record, allowed a punt-return touchdown and committed two turnovers.

And yet again, after the game, Tim Tebow became the unrivaled story line, though he did not play a single snap. He stood blankly on the sideline, in uniform, even as the Jets twice lined up in the Wildcat formation he had supposedly been brought in to conduct.

The scene elicited more questions and interpretations. Why activate Tebow without intending to play him? Why humiliate him in front of a fan base that still cheered his name? Why not let him have one final hurrah in a meaningless game?

Coach Rex Ryan danced around answers Sunday and again during a conference call with reporters Monday afternoon, saying it was his decision to use wide receiver Jeremy Kerley in the Wildcat instead of Tebow.

"We know Jeremy can throw the ball," Ryan said. "I just thought it was going to give us an opportunity and, during the week, he looked really good at running it. That's why I was really comfortable with him doing that."

Shortly after the game Sunday, ESPN New York reported that Tebow had asked the coaching staff not to play him in the Wildcat against the Chargers, his frustration in being passed over as the starter on Sunday finally reaching its tipping point.

Ryan said he had met with Tebow but declined to specify what they had discussed. "I believe that if his number was called, that without question, he would have gone in and played," Ryan said.

It is hard not to think that the Tebow soap opera, as feared at the outset, has become so toxic that it has contaminated almost all areas of the Jets this season. It certainly bothered Mark Sanchez, who chafed at continuing questions about Tebow taking his job. It seems likely that it affected the harmony in the locker room with other players as well. …

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