- Associated Press - Thursday, March 22, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - Tim Tebow is coming to New York. Really.

After a big false start, the New York Jets pulled off a Tebow-like comeback Wednesday night, getting the quarterback who turned the Denver Broncos from an also-ran into a playoff team last season and became the NFL’s most talked-about player _ for a fourth- and sixth-round draft pick.

Now, Tebowmania is opening on Broadway.

And, there’s sure to be plenty of drama _ just as there was from the moment the Jets pulled off the deal. Or thought they did, that is.


“I’m thankful they stuck with me through this whole crazy process,” Tebow said during a call late Wednesday night, repeating several times that he was “excited” to be a member of the Jets.

Eight hours after initially agreeing to a trade, the teams completed it after it was hung up when the Jets balked at repaying Denver more than $5 million for a salary advance due Tebow. The two sides agreed to split that cost, and Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said the team was “comfortable with the compensation.”

He said there was a disagreement about how to handle the salary advance after Denver received the papers.

“We knew what the contract was,” he said. “We had read it. … We felt it was one way; they felt it was another. Based on that, they were well within their rights to assess their different possibilities of what to do and their alternatives. And they did so throughout the day.”

So the Jets waited and waited _ and looked as if they had botched the big deal. Despite ultimately pulling off the trade, it’s just another bizarre moment for the Jets, a team that has had its share of them over the years, conjuring memories of Bill Belichick’s hiring as coach and his resignation one day later.

The deal also raised questions about the Jets‘ commitment to Mark Sanchez, who received a $40.5 million contract extension, with $20.5 million guaranteed, earlier this month.

During a call late Wednesday night, Tannenbaum repeatedly referred to Sanchez as “our guy” and the team’s unquestioned starting quarterback.

Mark Sanchez is, has been and will be our starting quarterback,” he said.

But the Jets have opened themselves _ and Sanchez _ to what could be a season of added criticism from restless fans who are sure to call for Tebow to play at the first sign of struggles.

“We obviously know that Tim has a magnetic following,” Tannenbaum said. “We understand the popularity of the backup quarterback, and this one is more unique than others.”

Tebow said he had a “great conversation” on Wednesday with Sanchez, adding that they’ve been friends for several years.

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