Antonio Cromartie clarifies tweets

Updated: March 25, 2012, 11:50 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

With Tim Tebow on the verge of finally becoming an official member of the New York Jets, cornerback Antonio Cromartie says the multitalented quarterback can help after all.

"He's a guy that brings a different atmosphere to the locker room and the huddle," Cromartie told the New York Daily News on Friday. "We were missing that last year -- a guy that can take control and do the things that we need to. (General manager Mike Tannenbaum and coach Rex Ryan) feel like he can come in and bring us that spark on offense when he's in certain packages."

Cromartie People took it as me dissing Tebow. I never dissed Tebow. I just said we don't need him on our team because Mark (Sanchez) is our quarterback.

-- Jets CB Antonio Cromartie
on tweets about Tim Tebow

Tebow became an official member of the Jets at 4 p.m. ET Saturday after a procedural glitch delayed the deal for a third time since Wednesday afternoon, when the Denver Broncos agreed to trade Tebow to New York.

Tebow, whom the Jets envision as a change-of-pace player in the wildcat formation, had to sign a rewritten contract Friday with the Broncos. He also had to remain on their salary cap for 24 hours before he became property of the Jets.

But before the trade ever was a reality, Cromartie took to Twitter on Tuesday to protest the move.

"We don't need Tebow. We sell out every home game let him go to Jacksonville Tampa or Miami. Our wildcat offense can b ran by (Jeremy) Kerley or Joe McKnight we straight," the former Pro Bowl cornerback wrote.

On Wednesday, Cromartie again questioned the need for Tebow, tweeting: "Y bring Tebow in when we need to bring in more Weapons for @Mark_Sanchez let's build the team around him."

Cromartie told the paper on Friday he had no regrets about his tweets, but said people took them the wrong way.

"People took it as me dissing Tebow. I never dissed Tebow. I just said we don't need him on our team because Mark (Sanchez) is our quarterback," Cromartie told the Daily News. "I would never degrade an NFL player because he's in the NFL for a reason. Tebow's proven over the past couple years why he's in the NFL. I would never take a shot at any NFL player. He's been a winner all his life. He's pulled his teams out of predicaments. I'm not the kind of person that would degrade or belittle someone in the NFL."

Cromartie said he's not concerned Tebow or his massive fan following will affect Sanchez's development.

"Fans are going to root for who they want to root for," Cromartie told the paper. "They're going to be fans. For guys in the locker room, our job is to make sure that whatever goes on in that locker room or meeting rooms is kept in-house. We are going to back our quarterback no matter what goes on. Mark is our No. 1 quarterback. He's our starting quarterback. He's our guy. Tebow's coming in as the No. 2 guy that can push Mark to his full potential. And that's what we're looking for. He's a guy that can bring a spark in different packages. It's a win-win situation for us.

"It's time for us to let Mark grow and be that quarterback that he needs to be."

The Jets, who also traded backup quarterback Drew Stanton to the Colts on Friday after Tebow effectively took Stanton's place on the roster, have insisted the Tebow trade was simply a way to improve the roster. The Jets maintain the former Heisman Trophy winner will back up Sanchez and be used to run the wildcat formation.

Ryan has said the team is "incredibly fortunate to have a couple of quarterbacks with playoff wins," claiming there will be no quarterback controversy.

Tebow will be introduced at a noon news conference Monday at the team's training facility in Florham Park, N.J.

Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini contributed to this report.

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