Coach Rex Ryan acknowledges use of QB Tebow has fizzled

Tim Tebow and the Jets had great expectations for this season, expectations that haven’t been realized.
Tim Tebow and the Jets had great expectations for this season, expectations that haven’t been realized. –Phelan M. Evenhack/Associated Press

It all began as an intriguing idea, the thought of Tim Tebow running around as an exciting spark for the New York Jets’ offense.

Then it all fizzled — before it really even started.

Rex Ryan acknowledged Wednesday that he had higher expectations for the seldom-used Tebow in the Jets’ wildcat-style offense. And, so did the NFL’s most popular and maligned backup quarterback.

‘‘For some reason, it hasn’t panned out to my expectations and maybe Tim’s, either,’’ Ryan said. ‘‘Defenses have attacked us a little differently. Maybe that’s a contributing factor.’’

Ryan would not go into detail about why he chose Greg McElroy over Tebow to replace the struggling Mark Sanchez as the team’s starting quarterback with two games left in a lost season. He reiterated his comments from Tuesday that it was his decision — and his alone — saying it was a ‘‘gut’’ call.


It was one that, predictably, didn’t sit well with Tebow.

‘‘Obviously, I’m a little disappointed,’’ he said. ‘‘You try to handle it the best you can.’’

Tebow paused for a second when asked if he felt passed over by Ryan choosing McElroy instead of him.

‘‘All you can ask for and all you want is a chance,’’ he said. ‘‘A chance to go out there and play the game you love, and help this team win football games. That’s all I wanted.’’

The fact McElroy leapfrogged Tebow appears to be a clear indicator that the Jets think very little of Tebow as a quarterback, the player for whom they traded a fourth-round draft pick to Denver in March.

‘‘I think we had a vision of using Tim in different ways,’’ Ryan said. ‘‘Obviously, we used him as a personal punt protector. I thought maybe we would use him in other ways or something.’’

Tebow was also asked point-blank whether he pictures himself being a member of the Jets next season.

‘‘I’ll just wait until the end of the season,’’ he said, ‘‘and look at everything then.’’

Griffin back on field

Robert Griffin III was back on the practice field for the Redskins, hoping the team will let him play this week against the Eagles as he recovers from a sprained right knee. Griffin looked smooth as he went through drills during the 20 minutes that the practice was open to reporters. Griffin was held out of Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns after injuring his knee the week before. Backup Kirk Cousins started the Browns game and threw for 329 yards in a 38-21 win. “I’m ready to play whenever they want me to play,’’ Griffin said. ‘‘So if it’s this week, next week, next couple of weeks. Whatever they say goes, so I’ll be ready.’’ . . . Commentator Rob Parker has issued an apology for remarks he made on ESPN2’s “First Take’’ last week regarding Griffin. When discussing Griffin’s answer to a question about his role as an African-American quarterback, Parker questioned Griffin’s “blackness,’’ citing that the quarterback has a white fiancee and is rumored to be Republican as among his reasons . . . Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t think he and Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley need to be best friends to co-exist. The quarterback, however, also knows he can’t start calling Haley out when things don’t go as planned, no matter how bothered the Steelers captain may get by the play-calling. It’s why Roethlisberger apologized after making pointed remarks about the direction of the offense following a 27-24 overtime loss to Dallas last Sunday. ‘‘I let my frustrations jump out after a game, I don’t usually do that,’’ Roethlisberger said. ‘‘I was just frustrated with myself and I’ll be better at that.’’ . . . Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall returned to practice after serving a one-game suspension for deciding not to show up at Heinz Field for Pittsburgh’s game with the Chargers on Dec. 9. Mendenhall was inactive during the game.


Cruz recounts visit

For much of his hourlong visit with the family of a 6-year-old boy killed in the Connecticut school shootings, Victor Cruz talked about football, life and young Jack, the child who idolized him. Cleats and gloves worn by Cruz to honor Jack Pinto at Sunday’s game against Atlanta were given to his family. The Giants wide receiver somberly recounted his meeting with Pinto’s parents and brother in Newtown, Conn. He struggled in his retelling only when asked about the family’s decision to bury the child in the receiver’s No. 80 Giants jersey. Pinto was buried Monday and Cruz telephoned the family to ask whether he could visit them Tuesday. ‘‘You never go through some circumstances like this and circumstances where a kid faces or a family faces something of this magnitude at their school,’’ Cruz said. ‘‘This definitely was the toughest by far.’’ . . . Trent Richardson would be surprised if Nick Saban followed him from Alabama to the Cleveland Browns. Saban, who will lead the Crimson Tide against Notre Dame in the BCS national championship game in Miami on Jan. 7, has been mentioned as returning to the NFL, perhaps with the Browns if second-year coach Pat Shurmur is fired at season’s end. ‘‘How can you get tired of winning,’’ Richardson asked. ‘‘He’s got so much going there. He has no reason to leave.’’

McCoy to startThe Eagles’ LeSean McCoy will start at running back against Washington on Sunday in his first game back after missing four because of a severe concussion . . . The Lions put defensive tackle Nick Fairley on injured reserve with a shoulder injury . . . Dolphins backup running back Daniel Thomas was placed on injured reserve because of a knee injury . . . The Jets placed rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill on injured reserve, ending his season because of a knee injury . . . Erie County (N.Y.) Executive Mark Poloncarz said that progress is being made in lease negotiations between the county, state, and Buffalo Bills to keep the team at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills’ current lease expires July 31 . . . The daughter of a former Bears player from the 1950s is accused of illegally collecting money from an NFL pension plan years after her father’s death. Constance Helwig-Langlois was charged with fraud in Detroit. Federal prosecutors said the NFL retirement plan kept sending checks to John Helwig’s Detroit-area address after his 1994 death.

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