FLORHAM PARK, NEW JERSEY— With Jets owner Woody Johnson, general manager Mike Tannenbaum and head coach Rex Ryan in West Palm Beach, Florida, attending the NFL owners’ meetings, it was up to Tim Tebow to break the ice with the New York media.
Over 30 television cameras and 150 reporters overflowed the Green and White’s practice bubble, normally reserved for drills and walkthroughs, the expansive field house could barely control the three-ring media circus that accompanied Tim Tebow’s introductory press conference.
In the most hyped event ever involving a team’s backup quarterback, the flashbulbs were flickering and pens readied in-hand, anxiously awaiting Tebow’s opening remarks.
Gracious and humble in the face of the media storm, Tebow was quick to deflect the attention and limelight.
"It's an honor for all of you to show up to hear me say a few words today," Tebow said. "The reason we're doing this today is because I have bosses too and they wanted me to stand up and talk to all y'all too, so I can blame them, since they made me do it."
With his ‘bosses’ 1,200 miles away, Tebow spoke glowingly about the Jets organization and expressed his eagerness in becoming Gang Green’s newest addition.
"It's such an honor for me to be here, and I'm so excited about being a Jet,” exclaimed Tebow.
"I'm blessed to be on a very good football team. ... It's always a lot of fun to be on the tough team, the physical team."
With the Jets and Jaguars vying for Tebow’s services, the former Florida Gator standout shed some light on his decision to choose New York over his hometown of Jacksonville.
"I had a better relationship with the Jets coaches,” noted Tebow. “I knew them. I know (Jaguars) coach Mularkey and the coaches they have are great coaches, but I've never met any of them, I haven't had the opportunity to get to know them. And I'm sure it would have been exciting. It would have been fun to be home, but this is exciting and I'm so proud to be a Jet. I think it's going be a lot of fun."
The focal point of an evolving quarterback controversy in New York, the former Heisman Trophy winner seemed receptive to his backup role with Gang Green, but didn’t downplay his desire to become an integral component of the Jets offense.
"Everybody that puts on a uniform, you want to go out there and you want to play -- that's why you play the game of football, said Tebow. "And that's why I'm excited to be a Jet, to go out there and help this team in any way I can. Whatever my role is and however I can expand that role, yeah, I'm going to try to do that."
Jets starting quarterback Mark Sanchez has maintained a great rapport with Tebow the past three years, but the burning question is whether any friction will develop once the two are rubbing shoulders come September.
The No. 25 overall pick in the 2010 draft, Tebow assured Jets fans that he and Sanchez will not only work well together, but enjoy each other’s company.
“From my conversations with (Sanchez), he was excited and he was excited about working with me," Tebow added. "I'm excited about working with him. I have a lot of respect for him as a football player. He's always handled himself with so much class and integrity, and he's won a lot of football game as a quarterback. And I think we'll have a great working relationship and we talked about that, just supporting one another in our roles."
With teammates David Harris and Antonio Cromartie openly questioning the front office’s decision to trade for the spiritual lefty, Tebow appeared focus on letting his work ethic and preparation earn their respect.
"I don't think I'm trying to win over the locker room," Tebow said. "I just want to make this team a little bit better."
As rumors swirl regarding the possibility of Tebow unseating Sanchez as the Jets starter, the former Denver Bronco aptly described the prospect of a dynamic quarterback duo playing in New York.
“We will be stronger together than we would be apart, chimed Tebow.”
With the first formal press conference under his belt, Tebow and the Jets can return to a sense of normalcy.
At least until tomorrow.
Rick Laughland covers the New York Jets for Greenandwhitereport.com
You can follow him on Twitter @rlaughland
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