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Friday, November 30, 2012
Jets wait on Tim Tebow decision

By Jane McManus
ESPNNewYork.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets coach Rex Ryan said he has not made a decision on whether to deactivate Tim Tebow, who has two fractured ribs, for Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals at MetLife Stadium.

Ryan said it would be a game-time decision, despite a report the Jets had decided to sit Tebow.

Tebow
Tebow

"I haven't made that decision or anyone else made that decision," Ryan said. "Whether there is speculation or not that's a decision that I have to make."

Earlier Friday, a source told ESPN that Ryan has made plans to designate Tebow as inactive for Sunday's game to provide time for his two fractured ribs to heal.

Tebow only had five practice reps this week, a source told ESPNNewYork.com, despite being listed as limited. On Friday, Tebow said he did not throw much and had discomfort when he did try. Still, he did not want to think he couldn't play.

"(I'm) slowly progressing with things every day," Tebow said. "And it'll be up to coach and the docs."

Ryan said part of the consideration was that Tebow's role wouldn't require him to throw much.

"With Tim, some of the things that he can do specifically in the Wildcat and as a personal protector, you're not asking him to go out and throw it 50 times a game," Ryan said. "I think if that was the case, then I'm not sure he could do that."

Ryan did not want to have all three quarterbacks active, and said he would use wide receiver Jeremy Kerley in that spot if Sanchez were hurt and a backup couldn't go. Ryan, however, didn't seem to think that would be necessary.

"We're fortunate we have a very durable quarterback in Mark Sanchez," Ryan said.

Greg McElroy, a second-year player out of Alabama, took Tebow's place during the week as the backup quarterback in practice, while Tebow worked on the side with the rehab group. McElroy said he prepares each week as if he'll be called up, but this would be his first game active for the Jets if Tebow is deactivated.

"I'm sure it'll be similar to last week where it'll be a decision that's made on game day and just before the game," McElroy said. "But if Tim's feeling healthy and ready to go then he'll be the guy. We're hopeful and we're hoping that he's ready to go."

In a 49-19 loss to the Patriots on Thanksgiving night, Tebow was active but did not take the field. After the game, Tebow revealed that he dressed after being diagnosed with two fractured ribs the day before. Ryan, who knew about the injury but didn't activate McElroy for the game, took a lot of criticism for the decision.

There was a moment, after the notorious collision between Sanchez and offensive lineman Brandon Moore, when the QB's head hit the turf. If Sanchez had needed to come out for evaluation, Ryan's only option would have been an ailing Tebow with more than half of the game remaining.

On Friday, Ryan didn't back away, saying Tebow could play with the injury and was cleared to play against the Patriots.

Tebow sustained the injury in the loss to Seattle, during one of his offensive plays. Tebow was active for the St. Louis game a week later, but only took part in three offensive plays. He also played as the punt protector.

During practice the week after St. Louis, Ryan noticed that Tebow's breathing was labored, and an MRI confirmed the ribs were cracked.

Tebow said he lobbied to play against the Patriots, and that was just his nature. Even Friday, after missing practices and experiencing pain, Tebow said he didn't think he should necessarily be inactive.

"It doesn't make me pessimistic, it means you have to fight for yourself that's all," Tebow said.

Tebow said he would wear protective padding on his ribs if he plays.

"It's definitely a huge game, and we need to win," Tebow said.

Information from ESPN's Ed Werder and ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini was used in this report.