NFL notes: Jets end Tebow experiment; future cloudy for polarizing QB

Posted Monday, Apr. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Tebow Time is over in New York — before it ever got started.

Tim Tebow was waived by the Jets on Monday, the end of an unsuccessful one-season experiment in New York.

Coach Rex Ryan said in a statement by the team in announcing the move that had been expected for months: “Unfortunately, things did not work out the way we all had hoped.”

The Heisman Trophy winner attempted just eight passes after his ballyhooed arrival in a surprising trade from the Denver Broncos in March 2012. He threw for 39 yards and rushed 32 times for 102 yards — and stunningly had no touchdowns as a member of the Jets.

Meanwhile, starter Mark Sanchez struggled amid constant questions about Tebow’s playing time, and still Tebow remained mostly on the sideline. The Jets and new general manager John Idzik selected former West Virginia star Geno Smith in the second round of the NFL Draft Friday, giving New York six quarterbacks on its roster — and creating uncertainty about Sanchez’s future as well.

Tebow arrived at the team’s facility in Florham Park, N.J., on Monday morning and was told he had been cut.

“Tim is an extremely hard worker, evident by the shape he came back in this offseason,” Ryan said. “We wish him the best moving forward.”

Tebow led the Broncos to the playoffs in 2011 but became expendable when Denver signed Peyton Manning as a free agent. The popular backup quarterback was acquired by the Jets for a fourth-round draft pick and $1.5 million in salary. He was introduced at the Jets’ facility to plenty of fanfare at a lavish news conference, with Tebow repeatedly saying he was “excited” to be in New York.

It turned out to be one of the few high points in Tebow’s stay with the Jets. Along with his shirtless jog from the practice field in the rain during training camp, of course.

Owner Woody Johnson jokingly said last season that “you can never have enough Tebow.” Well, the Jets apparently had their fill after just one year.

From the day the Jets made the move to bring Tebow in to compete with Sanchez, many fans and media predicted it was only a matter of time before the former Florida star would step in as the starting quarterback. There were billboards outside the Lincoln Tunnel in New Jersey welcoming Tebow, and sandwiches named after him at Manhattan delis.

Meanwhile, the Jets insisted having both Tebow and Sanchez would not be a distraction. The plan was that the team would benefit from having both players’ different skill sets: Sanchez as the traditional quarterback, and Tebow running the wildcat-style offense.

While everyone from Johnson to Ryan to former general manager Mike Tannenbaum to former offensive coordinator Tony Sparano said they were all “on board” with Tebow, it became evident early that he had no clear role.

And Tebow simply didn’t impress enough in practice to earn more playing time.

Ryan refused to start Tebow in place of a struggling Sanchez late in the season, choosing instead to go with third-stringer Greg McElroy, a former Alabama and Southlake Carroll standout, ahead of him for one game — despite Tebow’s multitude of fans taking to Twitter and begging the team to give their favorite player a chance. The since-fired Sparano never was able to figure out a way to consistently use Tebow, who spent most of his time on the sideline during games.

He was solid in his role on special teams as the personal punt protector, but the Jets stopped using him even there after he broke two ribs in a game at Seattle in November. Tebow’s overall role diminished greatly after the injury, even after he healed. He tried to hide his frustration, but acknowledged late in the season that things didn’t turn out quite how he expected in New York.

“I think it’s fair to say,” Tebow said, “that I’m a little disappointed.”

The Jets appear to be sticking with Sanchez despite his struggles and the arrival of Smith as the future quarterback because he is guaranteed $8.25 million this season. But Idzik made it clear that the team would bring in competition for Sanchez.

It appeared Jacksonville, the other team to pursue Tebow last offseason, would be an obvious landing spot. But new general manager David Caldwell nixed the idea of a happy homecoming when he declared at his introductory news conference that he couldn’t “imagine a scenario in which he’ll be a Jacksonville Jaguar.”

The Bears, Chargers and New England were also thought to be possible landing spots, but at least one report said Chicago wasn’t interested.

The Montreal Allouettes of the Canadian Football League own the rights to Tebow north of the border. Their general managers said the team would be interested in Tebow — as a backup as he learns the Canadian game.

Many believe Tebow’s best chance to stick in the NFL would be to switch positions, but he insists he is a quarterback and just wants an opportunity.

Hughes joins Bills

The Buffalo Bills on Monday acquired former TCU linebacker Jerry Hughes from the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for linebacker Kelvin Sheppard.

Hughes appeared in 16 games (six starts) in 2012 with Indianapolis and totaled 41 tackles (29 solo), a career-high four sacks and one pass break-up.

The 6-foot-2, 254-pound Hughes entered the NFL as a first-round (31st overall) draft selection in 2010. He has appeared in 40 games (seven starts) and totaled 62 tackles (41 solo) and 5.0 sacks with the Colts.

Timberview exes get call

Wisconsin cornerback Marcus Cromartie and Texas Tech running back Eric Stephens, graduates from Mansfield Timberview High School, will have an opportunity to play in the NFL.

Cromartie signed a free agent contract with the San Diego Chargers. He had 27 career starts for the Badgers with 16 career passes defensed and one interception.

Stephens has been invited to a tryout during the New Orleans Saints’ rookie mini camp on May 10-12. Stephens’ career was slowed by a knee jury during his junior season, but he finished with 2,504 career yards from scrimmage and 24 touchdowns.

Monroe goes to Bucs

Former University of Texas wide receiver D.J. Monroe agreed to terms with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Monroe, who has elite speed, played running back and returned kicks for the Longhorns, rolling up 2,620 all-purpose yards in his career. He had three career kickoff returns for touchdowns.

TCU’s Tucker to Eagles

TCU running back Matthew Tucker agreed to terms with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 6-foot-1, 227-pound Tucker rushed for 2,618 yards and 33 touchdowns on 494 career carries for the Horned Frogs. As a senior, Tucker rushed for 531 yards and six touchdowns.

Patriots release Williams

Former TCU defensive back Malcolm Williams was one of five players released by the New England Patriots, including former Dallas Cowboys fullback Tony Fiammetta.

Williams, 24, rotated between the 53-man roster and the practice squad over the past two seasons after joining the team as a seventh-round draft pick (219th overall) in 2011. He played in four regular-season NFL games and three postseason games. Last season, Williams played in two games and compiled two special teams tackles.

Fiammetta played with the Cowboys in 2011.

Jags cleaning house

The Jacksonville Jaguars have parted ways with three front office personnel, including director of player personnel Terry McDonough.

The others dismissed by new general manager Dave Caldwell were Louis Clark, the team’s director of pro personnel, and regional scout Chris Prescott.

The moves came as no surprise, given that most new GMs bring in their own personnel staff after the draft.

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