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.”
Ryan and general manager John Idzik informed Tebow early Monday morning in a face-to-face meeting at the team’s facility before he was expected to work out with teammates, a source said. Tebow left the building shortly thereafter.
Tebow was dressed in his workout clothes Monday when he was called to Idzik’s office, according to league sources.
So ends one of the strangest chapters in team history — maybe in league history.
Tebow received rock-star media coverage from the moment he arrived. His introductory news conference last March drew more than 200 media members, highly unusual for a backup quarterback. The Jets were criticized for the excess.
After using a second-round pick on Geno Smith this past weekend, the Jets had six quarterbacks on the roster, and someone had to go. The Jets tried for months to trade Tebow, sources said. His release was earlier reported by the New York Post.
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.
Tebow attended the first two weeks of the offseason program. In fact, he reported 12 pounds under his 2012 playing weight. Despite vague comments by team officials, they never had any intention of retaining him.