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Sunday, March 25, 2012
Tebow -- and just Tebow -- at presser

By Rich Cimini

The Jets know they can't downsize Tim Tebow's first news conference, but they hope to downplay it.

If that's possible.

Sensitive to the fact that Tebow is a backup quarterback and not a starter, the Jets don't want to go overboard Monday with pomp and circumstance. They want to keep it as simple as possible. Barring a last-minute change of plans, he won't even take the traditional holding-up-his-new-jersey photo.

Tebow won't pose for photos with Rex Ryan because Ryan won't be there. The coach is attending the NFL meetings in Palm Beach, Fla., along with owner Woody Johnson and GM Mike Tannenbaum. So, too, is the Jets' senior director of media relations, Bruce Speight.

It will be just Tebow, a podium and a few hundred media types in the team's cavernous field house. The Jets declined to say how many credential requests they received for the noon presser; they anticipate the turnout to be what it normally would be for a playoff game -- approximately 100 to 200 media members.

But that might be on the conservative side.

The Jets have been criticized for lavishing so much attention on a backup. One Jets player, annoyed, told ESPNNewYork.com last week "it's unbelievable" that Tebow is receiving rock-star treatment from the team. This is a balancing act for the team. Johnson told reporters Sunday that they decided to have a news conference because of the number of media requests.

"While the demand may be different, our approach as an organization is the same," Speight said. "We gauge the level of interest from the media and provide accommodations that are respectful and appropriate and allow them to perform their jobs to the best of their ability."

Their goal is to make this as normal as possible, no different than any other player fielding questions during a routine, mid-week news conference in the media room.

Except this will be on a much larger scale. A typical Ryan presser draws about 50 people and a handful of TV cameras. This will have three TV networks with a live feed.

This will be held in the field house, which is the length of a football field and has a 100-foot ceiling. They've never used the field house for a news conference. It will take place near one end zone, with Tebow standing on the 20-yard line.

Well, they say they expect him to contribute in the red zone. This is his first shot.