By Jason Keidel
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From the beginning, Tim Tebow’s tenure with the Jets was swathed in symbolism.
Tebow was a hybrid of player, prayer and a flashpoint of a complex, spiritual movement. His kneeling refrain doubled as an emblem of optimism.
And he has just been released by the Jets, for reasons that only they understand.
Without swerving into religious or secular sidebars, no one has questioned Tebow’s hard-hat ethos or hard-luck pathos since joining the Jets. Never before can this writer recall a team promising a town so much and producing so little. This entire deal was a staggering contradiction.
The Jets, the eternal graveyard for Super Bowl dreams, took Tebow far more for his Q rating than QB rating. They have treated him like a virus, with Monday being the ultimate inoculation from feel-good stories — so ironic for a team so desperate for one.
Adding to the appalling narrative, the Jets waited until the draft was completed and rosters are stuffed like a subway car at 8 a.m.
After trading for Tebow following his miraculous run in Denver, the Jets adorned their MetLife marquee with glittering guarantees of a three-pronged offense that would leave the league gasping for answers.
Instead, Tebow threw eight passes the entire year and was relegated to a clipboard-hugging utility man, ornamental in the most demeaning sense.
Rex Ryan often regurgitates his non-sequitur, “I want guys who play like Jets,” which, presumably, means men of high character and monolithic work ethic. So his answer is to cut a man whose mail was forwarded to the weight room, who, by all accounts, was a gym rat who never saw sunlight unless he was sweating on the practice field.
By the way, Tebow happens to be the lone Jets quarterback with a playoff win in the last 18 months, beating my beloved black and gold with over 300 yards passing.
We’ll hear the transparent platitudes, about their swollen sideline being filled with six quarterbacks and that Tebow, though beloved by his employer, was simply a sad casualty of obdurate, NFL realities.
But it will be impossible for many of us to think that, out of the amalgam of misfits the Jets call their quarterback competition, Tebow was the one least qualified to compete.
Particularly when you’ve already seen Greg McElroy’s microscopic skill set, recall David Garrard’s increasingly brittle bones and realize that Mark Sanchez hasn’t been cut only because of the colossal cap hit ($17 million) the Jets would endure before June 1.
And so six completions and 39 yards later, the Tebow fiasco ends with a whimper, the national chorus of Tebowmania reduced to a murmur inside John Idzik’s office, where Tebow was summoned from some crevice in the team’s facility and told to pack his bags.
We don’t know what kind of quarterback Tebow can be. Neither do the Jets, which makes the hiring and firing of football’s preeminent good guy so galling.
You can say, in a very real sense, that the Jets don’t deserve Tebow.
Heaven knows he didn’t deserve the Jets.
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