Jets coach Rex Ryan reacted strongly to the report that an unnamed teammate referred to Tim Tebow as “terrible.”
Playing to a packed house in the Jets media room, Ryan actually toyed with reporters for a bit, begging one of them to ask the question they were all there to ask.
When the ice was broken, Ryan said he didn’t appreciate the remarks.
“If you’re going to make a negative comment, that’s fine,” Ryan said, via the New York Daily News. “We never say that it always has to be a bed of roses. But again, put your name to it. I think people will respect you a lot more.”
Ryan said he spoke to the team about it first thing.
“Did I address it? I absolutely addressed it,” Ryan said. “Because I think it’s a cowardly thing. If you’re not going to put your name to it, I think that’s about as cowardly of a thing as there is. I even mentioned that. I said, ‘Look, if, . . .’ Well, I don’t want to get into specifics of what I said. But I did address it with our football team. I absolutely did.
“If you’re searching for things to try to drive a wedge through the team and all that, . . . my thing is that I believe in this team. I believe this team is like this and will continue to be like this and maybe even come tighter. I’m confident that that will be a case.”
Ryan also defended Tebow’s handling of an unusual situation, going to far as to say their punt game has never been better, thanks to the way opponents have to honor the possibility of a Tebow fake.
“Every single day when he hits the field, he works about as hard as anybody I’ve seen. He stays longer than probably every player we have, working on those skills,” Ryan said. “He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do.”
“Tim Tebow came here to be the backup quarterback. We never brought him in here, to be the starting quarterback. We already had a starting quarterback in Mark Sanchez. I thought I was clear on that from the day we brought Tim in here. But what we were also clear on is that he’s a football player and we’re going to use him in different roles.”
In the middle of a 3-6 season, it’s the last thing the Jets need, to have to address such reports. But they also should have known they’d eventually come, when they made the deal to acquire America’s favorite backup.