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Tebow prepares for takeoff with the Jets

- Associated Press - Monday, March 26, 2012

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Tim Tebow laughed a few times, smiled steadily and stayed polite and composed.

If being surrounded by dozens of cameras and scores of media people made him nervous, the New York Jets' new backup quarterback didn't show it.

He was cool and calm — exactly how he looked during those hair-raising comebacks last season with the Denver Broncos.

His message: I'm here to help, not to create another Jets controversy.

"It's an honor for all of you to show up to hear me say a few words," a grinning Tebow told a pack of more than 200 reporters.

Asked what he thought about the media crush, he said: "I really don't think it will be much of a distraction because, honestly, I will try not to pay too much attention to it."

Good thing, because it will surely be around 24/7. Monday was only the beginning. Even though both he and Mark Sanchez, the starting quarterback, don't want more drama.

The Jets intend to make things work with Sanchez, too. After all, less than two weeks ago he was given a contract extension that included $20.5 million guaranteed.

Tebow spoke for more than 30 minutes at a news conference held in the team's field house because the media turnout was so massive it couldn't be accommodated in the normal press room. It was hardly a run-of-the-mill meet-and-greet, with the star of the show hardly a part-time player.

Tebow, who used the word "excited" more than 40 times, refused to stir the volatile mix that is the Jets. He went out of his way to say he believes he and Sanchez can co-exist despite all the skeptics. And there are plenty.

Tebow electrified the NFL last year by taking a 1-4 Denver team on an incredible run — seven wins in eight games, including three in overtime and another two won in the waning moments of regulation. Suddenly, the league was gripped by Tebowmania. Never mind the bad passing mechanics and Tebow's tendency to tuck the ball and run.

The Jets are hoping he has more surprises left in him — in whatever role he serves.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

RAMS: St. Louis signed free agent wide receiver Steve Smith, filling a pressing need. Smith, who had 107 receptions for the New York Giants in 2009, will be entering his sixth season. Last year he caught nine passes in 11 games before being sidelined by a knee injury.

CARDINALS: Arizona agreed to terms on a three-year contract for long snapper Mike Leach and a two-year deal for linebacker Reggie Walker. Leach has played in all 48 games over the past three seasons with the Cardinals. Walker played in all 16 games for Arizona last season and made a career-high 16 special teams tackles.

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