Tim Tebow, under the microscope, would like to act normally
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- So, Tim Tebow, any big plans for your day off Tuesday?
"Probably get a light workout in, probably get a run, try to toss it around a little bit," he said Monday. "But for the most part try to recover. Take care of your body. Watch a little film."
Even by the modest standards of Cortland social life, it sounded a tad depressing. But the Jets' backup quarterback said he likely would pass on activities such as a dinner or movie out.
Such is life in the fishbowl for one of the most famous, polarizing men in the NFL, now only heightened by his arrival in the media capital of the world. (New York, that is. Not Cortland.)
Not that Tebow is complaining. But he admitted there are times anonymity would be nice.
"Sometimes it is [difficult] if you just want to watch a movie, 'Dark Knight' or something," he said. "It's something I just have to think about and plan for. It's not that I get frustrated doing it. It's just sometimes you just want to relax and be normal because that's how I view myself. Sometimes you'd like to be able to do more normal stuff and you can't."
There had been some hope among local church groups the deeply religious Tebow would make an appearance during camp, but that does not appear to be in the cards, either.
Even if he had been inclined to leave campus for a service, church was impossible Sunday, given a work day that stretched from 6 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. But it appears he will limit himself to a team Bible study group.
"I don't think going outside [campus] has really been a plan," he said.
While Tebow can avoid some public settings, he can't avoid practices here, where fans and reporters always are watching. But after years in the spotlight at Florida and with the Broncos, he mostly is philosophical about attention and / or criticism.
Did he hear the small group of hecklers at his first practice Saturday? "I don't really pay attention to that," he said, laughing. "I didn't really know until someone said someone reported it. If anything I just find it funny. You'll always have fans give you a hard time."
Regarding the media glare, he said, "Sometimes it does get a little comical and funny to me, but for the most part there's really not much to say. I try not to think about it or worry about it or pay attention to it. I really just try to be myself and live as much of a normal life as I can without having any of this change who I am or what I do or why I do it.
"It's something I take pride in, not changing, especially my values, my faith, anything like that, but also just what I do and how I do it."
The Jets don't seem concerned with Tebow's ability to handle it all. Asked after a practice that attracted NFL Films, the NFL Network and a small army of ESPN personalities if he has spoken to Tebow about that, coach Rex Ryan said, "I'm not that smart. I haven't. I don't know what he went through before. Certainly there's more media coverage for this team than any other I've been on. I'm sure there's some adjustment."
That was driven home after Tebow's first practice, when he decided to doff his rain-soaked jersey and T-shirt before running off the field, creating an image that instantly was beamed around the world.
Tebow said he hadn't thought anything of it, and had done the same thing many times in Florida and Denver without giving it a thought and without it becoming a media sensation.
"My shirt felt like 20 pounds, and we had been in the rain and I was signing autographs for 20 or 30 minutes," he said. "I really didn't think y'all would be taking pictures."
"Time and place," Sanchez said, after joking that he has been doing extra work on his abs lately in case he decides to take off his shirt here. "We gave him a hard time, but it's all in fun," Sanchez said. "He's been great."
Tebow rejected the notion New York has tested him like never before; being the center of attention has been a fact of his life for years.
"There's always scrutiny and people that just want to find something about you to write that's negative or to find something about you they can post," he said. "I just want to be who I am and not change regardless of what happens."
But there was one adjustment he was willing to make after Saturday's episode. After initially joking, "I'm not going to change; I'm taking my shirt off," Tebow laughed, then added, "I can change that a little."