Nelson and Tebow were teammates at the University of Florida, where they connected on one of the most famous plays in school history -- the celebrated "Jump Pass" against Oklahoma in the 2009 BCS National Championship Game. Tebow's touchdown to Nelson cemented the victory for the Gators, linking them together forever.
Nelson finds it hard to believe Tebow isn't playing in the NFL.
"I can't imagine football without Tim Tebow," said Nelson, who signed last Tuesday and likely will make his Jets debut Monday night at the Atlanta Falcons. "For the past seven years, he's been such a polarizing figure. The guy's a competitor and a leader. Not only does he make you better on the field, but it's well documented he makes you better off the field. He's just a proven leader.
"His competitive will in clutch time ... there's a presence about him. You want to be around him when it's game time. He just has this aura. It's contagious."
Nelson has been around the Jets for less than a week, but he observed, "I think he impacted a lot of people in this locker room." He spent time with Tebow last offseason and they discussed Tebow's ill-fated season with the Jets. Nelson said his old teammate never shared any negative opinions about the Jets.
"Obviously, he wishes he could've played and, obviously, he wishes he could've stayed," Nelson said. "But he made the most of his time."
Nelson smiled when asked about the jump pass. He was the third or fourth receiving option on a team loaded with talent, so he caught the Sooners by surprise.
"As I was running out there -- I still remember it to this day -- Coach [Urban] Meyer said to me, 'Go win the game,'" he said. "That's a memory I'll never forget. That's kind of what I'm known for back in Gainesville."
Since arriving last Tuesday, Nelson has spent almost every waking moment trying to learn the Jets' offense. He showed up at 6 a.m. to one-on-one time with receivers coach Sanjay Lal. They might need him, especially with Santonio Holmes (hamstring) sidelined.