On Wednesday Tebow denied asking out of anything and a couple of former University of Florida teammates reacted to the situation and spoke to the quarterback’s character.
“He’s used to playing,” said Baltimore Ravens receiver Deonte Thompson, who played with Tebow in 2008 and 2009. “He’s a guy that started his whole life. It’s new to him. He’s going through something right now. But I still think he’s a positive guy. I don’t think he’d say anything negative. I just can’t picture Tebow saying anything too negative.”
When Jets coach Rex Ryan elected to bench Mark Sanchez, he chose Greg McElroy as his starter for Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers. According to the Associated Press, Tebow approached Ryan to tell him he wanted to be “a regular quarterback.”
“I never said, ‘Hey, I don’t want to do anything or I won’t do anything,’ ” Tebow told reporters Wednesday, as quoted by the AP. “That wasn’t the talk at all. He knows that, and everybody on this team knows that. I’d never not do something if I was asked, and I think that’s what’s disappointing about the whole situation, people saying, ‘You quit,’ or, ‘You didn’t do this.’ It was not it at all.
“It was just me asking to get an opportunity to play the position I love, which is quarterback. It wasn’t me asking out of anything.”
Hurt would only address a couple of questions about Tebow’s personality.
“Great guy. People person, great teammate. All-around great guy. One of the best people I’ve ever been around,” Hurt said. “Great leader. Leads through adversity, always positive. He’s a great guy from everything I’ve known.”
Asked if he thought during his time with the Gators that Tebow would be a good NFL quarterback, Hurt said: “I can’t. You’re asking me questions I can’t be answering. No comment.”
Tebow enjoyed success in 2011 when he led the Denver Broncos on a six-game winning streak. “Tebow Mania” lasted until a 45-10 loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional playoff round.
When Sanchez’s performance warranted a change, the switch to McElroy prompted Tebow’s conversation with Ryan. The way he explained it to reporters in Florham Park, N.J., is that once he realized his coach misinterpreted his comments he tried to clear things up.
“I just asked for an opportunity to play quarterback and he definitely understood that,” Tebow said, “and then Friday, I went up to him again and reiterated that, ‘Hey, I’ll do anything for this team like I have all year.’ “
Tebow took issue with reports and those assailing his reputation as a person and teammate.