Backup quarterback Tim Tebow was waived by the Jets, the end of an embarrassingly unsuccessful one-season experiment in New York that produced more hype and headlines than production on the field.
NEW YORK — The possibilities appeared endless for quarterback Tim Tebow.
Here he was, one of the most popular players in the league, in New York as a member of the Jets and perhaps the biggest thing to hit Broadway since Joe Namath.
There were billboards outside the Lincoln Tunnel in New Jersey welcoming Tebow, and sandwiches named after him at Manhattan delis. He also had a legion of fans who followed him because of his strong Christian beliefs — and in New York, he would be able to take advantage of countless media and marketing opportunities.
And then, it all went terribly wrong.
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Or, more like it, the whole idea was flawed from the start for Tebow and for the Jets.
Tebow was waived Monday, the end of an embarrassingly unsuccessful one-season experiment in New York that produced more hype and headlines than production on the field. And it ended quietly, with a three-paragraph news release.
“Unfortunately,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said in a statement, “things did not work out the way we all had hoped.”
It also left the 25-year-old Tebow’s football future in doubt.
More than a year after he threw a touchdown pass to win a playoff game in overtime for Denver, the Heisman Trophy winner with two college national titles at Florida is available. The Montreal Alouettes hold his rights in the Canadian Football League and said he could come compete for a job — as a backup.
“Had this happened back in February, he might have had a chance to at least participate in free agency,” said ex-quarterback Rich Gannon, an analyst for CBS Sports and SiriusXM NFL Radio. “I don’t think there would have been a strong market for him, but at least he would’ve had that opportunity.”
Gannon noted it is a tougher situation for Tebow now because more than 20 quarterbacks were either drafted or signed as undrafted free agents recently.
“The Jets were trying to find somebody, a dance partner. Sometimes that goes into the draft and teams are calling around,” Gannon said. “I’m sure the Jets were trying to shop Tebow, and I’m sure they kept getting denied.”
Tebow, who became expendable when Denver signed Peyton Manning as a free agent, was acquired by the Jets in March 2012 for a fourth-round draft pick and $1.5 million in salary. At his Jets introductory news conference, he used the word “excited” 44 times.
The Jets never figured out a way to use Tebow effectively, and he never forced the issue by being a good-enough player in practice to make Ryan and his coaches put him on the field more in games.
Mike Westhoff, recently retired Jets special-teams coordinator, labeled the way the team used Tebow an “absolute mess.”
Some observers contend Tebow will have to change positions to stay in the league.
Tebow was brought to New York to be a dynamic addition to the offense, a complement to starting quarterback Mark Sanchez and a merchandising touchdown for the Jets. Instead, Tebow completed 6 of 8 passes for 39 yards and rushed 32 times for 102 yards — and had no touchdowns.
Late in the season, Tebow said, “I think it’s fair to say that I’m a little disappointed.”
• Defensive end Lawrence Jackson, 27, an ex-Seahawk who played for Detroit the past three seasons, signed with Minnesota.
• Buffalo traded Kelvin Sheppard, 25, to Indianapolis for Jerry Hughes, 24, in a swap of veteran linebackers.
• Ex-Oakland Raiders assistant coach Randy Hanson, 45, is facing up to four years in state prison after being convicted of striking 51-year-old James Kelsey with a beer bottle outside a Pismo Beach, Calif., bar in August. A jury found Hanson guilty of felony battery and misdemeanor assault.
Before working in the pros, Hanson was a Washington Huskies graduate-assistant coach and an Eastern Washington assistant.