New York, NY
Quarterback Mark Sanchez blames the New York Jets for contributing to the hype surrounding Tim Tebow last season.
The Jets allowed ESPN to camp out inside the training facility in Cortland, N.Y., and also introduced Tebow at a massive news conference, highly unusual for a backup.
The coverage became excessive that it fueled the perception that the team acquired the backup quarterback simply as a publicity stunt.
Even team owner Woody Johnson said that the enormity of the coverage surprised him a little bit.
Sanchez noted that it was more intense than when the Jets reached back-to-back AFC Championship Games in 2009 and 2010, and that Tebow received more media attention than any player he's ever been around.
The Tebow trade never matched the hype, as he disappointed in a small role and mysteriously was passed over for the starting job when an ineffective Sanchez was benched late in the season.
The ill-fated trade was one of the reasons general manager Mike Tannenbaum was fired after a 6-10 season.
The Jets are expected to release Tebow, perhaps as soon as after the April 25-27 draft.
Throughout a dismal season, Sanchez, who committed 26 turnovers for the second straight year, always downplayed the Tebow factor, never expressing any frustration with his presence.
But he now says that the Tebow hype became an unnecessary distraction for him.
"It's up to us to eliminate outside distractions, whether it's about Tebow in the media or just anyone on the outside or anybody's expectations and really just focusing on us and really trying to get the best of each other," said Sanchez.
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