Tim Tebow's exit from One Jets Drive was far more subdued than his arrival.
Reporters had flocked to Florham Park, N.J., for Tebow's introductory news conference in March 2012. Television cameras captured the new Jets quarterback smiling in a crisp gray suit and pale green tie. But Monday, it was a much different scene at the facility. Tebow, in workout clothes, was brought to general manager John Idzik's office and told, in front of coach Rex Ryan, that he was being released, according to a source.
Nine months after owner Woody Johnson proclaimed "you can never have too much Tebow," Idzik proved there is a limit to the circus sideshow.
"We have a great deal of respect for Tim Tebow," Ryan said in the team's release. "Unfortunately, things did not work out the way we all had hoped. Tim is an extremely hard worker, evident by the shape he came back in this offseason. We wish him the best moving forward."
Tebow arrived in New York at the height of his popularity, and the circuslike atmosphere of Tebowmania became an immediate distraction. A quarterback controversy quickly ensued, helping to stunt the growth of starter Mark Sanchez. It also ultimately led to the dismissals of offensive coordinator Tony Sparano and Mike Tannenbaum, who was replaced by Idzik.
The Jets, who traded fourth- and sixth-round picks to the Broncos for Tebow and a seventh-rounder, now have nothing to show for their investment -- aside from countless newspaper back pages and his mediocre stat line: Eight passes (six completions for 32 yards), 32 carries for 102 yards, no touchdowns.
Tebow's only comment Monday was two Bible verses on Twitter. "Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
In addition to Tebow's $1.5-million salary, the Jets paid the Broncos $2.5 million last season and are responsible for another $1.5 million to the Broncos, per their trade agreement. But by cutting the former Heisman Trophy winner, they cleared $1.055 million in cap space.
Tebow, who was used mostly as a punt protector, appeared in only 73 offensive snaps and 59 special-teams snaps, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
The Jets gave Tebow permission to seek a trade in the offseason. According to an ESPN report, "more than one team" asked him if he was willing to play tight end. Tebow said no.
In his April 17 predraft news conference, Idzik was asked why Tebow still was on the roster and replied: "He is a New York Jet, so it should not be surprising." But all the while, he knew Tebow wasn't a part of his long-term plan.
With six quarterbacks after the Jets drafted Geno Smith in the second round of the draft Friday, new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg knew change was inevitable. "There's got to come a time where you need to make a choice," he said when asked about having so many quarterbacks -- including Sanchez, David Garrard and Greg McElroy -- sharing practice repetitions. "The timing is important as well. So everything we do is important. It's got to be very well thought out and very well planned."
The 25-year-old Tebow's future now is uncertain. The Jaguars were the assumed destination for Tebow, a Jacksonville native and former Florida Gator, but new GM Dave Caldwell ended that speculation in January. And the Jaguars confirmed their lack of interest in an email to writers Monday that read: "The Jacksonville Jaguars' plans do not include Tim Tebow."
The Montreal Alouettes, a team that still holds Tebow's negotiating rights in the Canadian Football League, offered an informal invitation for Tebow to be a backup quarterback. "If he wants to come to Canada, he would be in the same situation as the one he was in with New York," Alouettes GM Jim Popp told TSN.com. "And one day, he might be the guy."
New Bears coach Marc Trestman was the Alouettes' coach from 2008-12, but the Chicago Tribune reported that the Bears aren't interested and won't put in a waiver claim. The Patriots might be an option, given Bill Belichick's intellect and love of tweaking the Jets. Their offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, drafted Tebow in Denver, too.
But as of now, his next stop is immaterial to the Jets.
Tebowmania officially has left town, along with the circus tent.