It was a little after 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, about the time the late-night talk show hosts come out and play. And Tim Tebow, smooth and sincere, sounded as if he might be auditioning for at least a fill-in role for Dave or Jimmy — either one — or Conan.
“Hello. I hope you’re all doing good,” Tebow, the new Jets backup QB and Wildcatter, told the team’s reporters on a hastily organized conference call. “First and foremost, I just want to thank the Denver Broncos for my time there. It was very memorable and special.
“Now I’m looking forward to my time as a Jet. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to play for such a great organization. It’s my dream and passion to help them out and just be a part of it. I’m just happy they believed in me and stuck with me through this crazy process.”
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Yes, that’s genuine Tim Tebow. For anyone who’s never listened to him for 15 straight minutes, it’s revealing. He was set aside by the Broncos as they pursued and tackled Peyton Manning to be their new franchise quarterback, he has lost his starter’s job to be Mark Sanchez’s backup, and he didn’t even get to entertain an offer from his hometown Jaguars. Yet a short while ago, seldom was heard a discouraging word.
Take Rex Ryan, for instance.
“I wanted to play for Coach Ryan ever since I saw ‘Hard Knocks,’ ” Tebow chuckled about Rex’s and the Jets’ five-week star turn on HBO’s training camp series two summers ago. “He just seemed like a coach who loves football and is passionate about the game of football. He’s definitely a players’ coach. I just love that about him.”
But didn’t the salty language fall a little hard on the uber-religious QB’s ears?
“I have so much respect for Coach Ryan,” he said, chuckling even louder. “He’s a coach you want to play for, a coach you want to go out there and do good for. … There’s not many NFL locker rooms you’re going to go where you have the cleanest language, so I’m not too worried about that.”
How about the Broncos? Any parting shots over their bow?
“I understand what they were going through,” he said. “You don’t get many opportunities to have a chance to sign Peyton Manning. What a great quarterback he is.”
OK, then how about working up a good hate for Sanchez, whom he is now slated to play second fiddle to, at least on the QB depth chart.
“Mark called me and left a voicemail,” Tebow said. “I was searching through all my voicemails and I heard his and I called him back. We talked, got a chance to catch up a little bit. It was a great conversation. We’ve been blessed to get to know each other the last three years.
“I think we’re both extremely competitive. I think we’ll be able to push each other to get a lot better. I think we’ll have a great working relationship, and we’ve had a great relationship off the field. He’s such a classy guy. I’ll be very honored to call him my teammate.”
Tebow further declined to see his new Green & White role as a demotion from being a weekly national trending topic as he was leading Denver to a 7-4 record and its first playoff game in six years, which of course he won with an 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime over the Steelers.
“I feel like this is a great opportunity for me to develop,” he said. “I think the scheme we’ll be playing in is a great scheme to play under and improve every day. My goal is just to be the best player, the best quarterback, the best teammate I can be and improve every single day and earn everything I get by working hard and find a way to help the team in whatever role that is.”
And just to cover all his bases, he threw bouquets to Jets Nation, which seem initially divided on the wisdom of this trade: “Just playing for an organization that has such passionate fans, such a great fan base, so many people that care about them and support them, that definitely means a lot to me.”
Get used to it, folks. Tebow is as smooth and sincere off the field as he is dynamic and diabolical to defenses on it. (We hear he’ll get to demonstrate his glibness again for a national late-night TV audience or two in the coming days.)
Then just in case you missed it, he repeated one other sentiment several different ways that we’ll leave you with tonight:
“I’m just thankful to be a Jet.”
Now stay tuned for Last Call with Carson Daly. It’s just about that time.
Tags: Denver Broncos, Mark Sanchez, Peyton Manning, Rex Ryan, Tim Tebow, Trade
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