by Cass Waters
One year after bringing Tim Tebow to Broadway, creating a nationwide fascination that slowly evolved into controversy, the New York Jets on Monday made the long-anticipated move of releasing one of the NFL’s most popular players.
The Jets confirmed the release in a three-paragraph news release, a long way from his Super Bowl-sized news conference last March.
“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.”
The team’s plan always was to take no more than five quarterbacks into its organized team activities. When no other team offered even a seventh-round draft pick for Tebow by the conclusion of the NFL draft on Saturday, the decision was imminent, sources said. The Jets had given permission this offseason to Tebow’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, to try to seek a trade, a source familiar with situation said. More than one team reached out to see whether Tebow was willing to switch positions from quarterback to tight end, but he was not.
Various members of the Jets organization were warming to Tebow this offseason, which is one reason Idzik released the quarterback Monday morning, the source said. Idzik did not want the type of Tebow distractions in 2013 that last year’s team endured. 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 Denver Broncos to satisfy part of the trade agreement.
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.”