FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow acknowledged "some frustration" and "some sadness" after hearing that mostly anonymous teammates and organization members ripped him in a published story Wednesday.
"It's never fun to hear criticism, but at the same time, it's something I've always used as motivation, and you try to get stronger from it," Tebow said. "That's how I approach it. I always find the good and the positive from every situation. The positive from this is (I've) got to work a little bit harder and improve and build better relationships with your teammates."
Some teammates and organization members criticized Tebow in a New York Daily News article, with one defensive starter calling him "terrible," and the overriding sentiment being that the backup would not be the answer for the team at quarterback. Only two players are quoted by name in the story, guard Matt Slauson and defensive end Mike DeVito, with Slauson saying Tebow is an "athlete."
"I've heard criticism my whole life playing football. You try to do your best at handling it," Tebow said. "Understanding on one side you just try to make it motivate you, but at the same time, it always has somewhat of an effect on you. You're human and it's not always fun to have people say negative things about you, but you try to be stronger from it. It always has made me stronger in the past and it will continue to be."
While it may not appear that way based on his teammates' quotes, Tebow said he believes he has a great relationship with a lot of the players in the locker room and appreciates them all. He said it's an ongoing process of trying to work with the team and build those bonds, but added that his teammates and coaches have been very supportive of him in light of the negative remarks.
"You can't control a lot of things," Tebow said. "This is something I can't control, but I can control my attitude, my effort and my work ethic. Those are things that never change regardless what anyone says."
The backup quarterback said it wasn't difficult for him to walk into the locker room Wednesday because he's secure in who he is as a football player and confident in the relationships he's developed with his teammates. He said he joked with Slauson in the trainer's room about the lineman's remarks, and added that Slauson is someone he loves having on the team. Slauson said his remarks were from a while ago, guessing it was months.
"We're close friends," Tebow said. "It wasn't even a big deal."
For as much as the Jets may have ripped Tebow, it appears the team has forgotten how the QB beat them almost one year ago to the date. On Nov. 17, 2011, while with the Broncos, Tebow led a 95-yard drive and scored on a 20-yard touchdown run in the final two minutes to stun the Jets, 17-13 in Denver. That game's outcome proved a key reason why the Jets missed the playoffs last season.
When asked what that game says about the Jets, in light of him being called terrible by a teammate, Tebow took the high road.
"I'm a Jet now and I'm proud to be a Jet, and it's an honor to be in this locker room with a lot of great guys," Tebow said. "I feel like it's my job to get better every single day and contribute to this team, and I can say that every single time I step on that field as a New York Jet, I've played and tried as hard as I possibly can to help this team win football games. (I'm) one of the first guys here, last guys to leave, and try to be a great teammate as well."
When the Jets acquired Tebow in the offseason, it was supposed to be the start of a Wildcat package that would keep teams up all night trying to game plan against. Instead, the Wildcat package barely has made a dent, as Tebow has rushed 27 times for just 92 yards. He's only thrown six passes.
Tebow has played just 62 offensive snaps (10.4 percent of the Jets' total offensive snaps), and has made more of a mark as the protector on punts. He has accumulated 132 total yards of offense after tallying 2,389 yards for Denver last year.
The quarterback believes he's improved as a passer and would be ready to step in if called upon.
"I feel comfortable about some things but also it's tough when you don't get the same amount of reps, so you want to try to be as ready as you can," Tebow said. "It's never as easy not getting the game-plan reps every week."
While he didn't respond with any malicious comments to his teammates, Tebow is trying to move forward.
"You can't stop and wonder why; that doesn't help me," Tebow said. "It doesn't help me do anything, just makes you think about it more. That's not who I am and who I want to be."