Jets

Liguori: Sanchez, Tebow Shine Off Field In Latest Jets Controversy

(credit: Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

(credit: Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

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By Ann Liguori
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Back in March, when the Jets announced they had acquired Tim Tebow, my first, gut reaction was “They’ve fed this guy to the wolves.”

I suspected Tebow could become the so-called fall guy if the Jets suffered a losing record. As frustration mounts with the team losing five of the last six games, how pathetic that now even anonymous teammates have gotten on the “Bash Tebow” bandwagon, blasting a player who doesn’t even play.

Since the trade with Denver, Tebow has garnered more headlines and attention than any non-playing athlete on the planet. And now, even his own anonymous teammates are taking shots at him. For those players who didn’t have enough courage to speak on the record, taking out a losing season on a guy who doesn’t even play reveals a lot about the state of the organization.

And despite all the controversy and questions the Tebow acquisition caused from the very beginning, the only positives have been the way both Mark Sanchez and Tebow have handled the ‘circus’ this summer and during the season.

I commend both Sanchez and Tebow for maintaining professionalism in the way they’ve handled things publicly. Sanchez seems to say the right thing no matter what he may be thinking. Whether he’s learned from Derek Jeter on how to appear best under the microscope or is just a natural at handling with off-field controversy, you have to give him points for the way he’s dealt with it.

Sanchez has yet to show signs of cracking as it relates to the Tebow factor. In fact, Sanchez denounced this latest in-house backstabbing episode and said he even empathized with Tebow.

And Tebow, the unfortunate subject of all this hostility, continues to remain solid and consistent with his reactions. He’s a leader and a good person and has remained strong under the most difficult circumstances.

I chatted with him about coming to the Jets when I played in his celebrity golf event in April. I voiced my concerns and talked to him about the New York market, how tough it could be for an athlete under the Big Apple spotlight, and what he could expect. He’s a positive guy and our conversation reinforced the fact that he would be strong enough, mentally, to handle all kinds of challenges.

But I wonder if he ever expected this — the intense level of  the Jets’ “circus”!

Tim has handled the controversy and bashing as professionally as one could. If he were playing more and stunk up the joint in actual games, perhaps some of the criticism would be warranted. That is, if guys attached their names to their comments. But to be the center of all this bashing while watching from the sidelines is ridiculous.

Like I told him back in April, Jacksonville would have been such a better fit!