Namath changes tune slightly on Tebow trade
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Joe Namath's harsh stance on the Jets' trade for Tim Tebow has softened.
The Hall of Famer, who bashed the move that acquired the quarterback from the Denver Broncos last week, said Monday he better understands the Jets' thinking. But he still says Tebow's acquisition undercuts starter Mark Sanchez.
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"I have changed my mind slightly," Namath told Fox Business Network. "You see the overview that the personnel in the Jets' administration have, they give more thought to the marketing and the other edges of the business than I do."
But Namath, who told several outlets, including Newsday, last week that he deemed the trade a "publicity stunt" and said it sent the wrong message to Sanchez, cautioned that the move won't pay off for the Jets in the long run.
"I think more of the football field, the locker room, and what they're trying to achieve on the field," said Namath, who quarterbacked the Jets to their only Super Bowl championship in 1969. "I just don't think the team is in a position right now with their players to have a successful season next year. I think they need fixes in other areas. Whenever I see the move with Tim Tebow, that's just telling me they really don't have all that confidence in Mark Sanchez that they've been telling Mark and telling the fans, certainly with the new contract."
After watching the live stream of Tebow's introductory news conference at the Jets' practice facility, Namath tweeted: " . . . My feelings haven't changed about him . . . I like him, I believe him and he'll be an asset to the team." He also agreed on Twitter that Tebow brings "class and leadership" to the Jets' locker room.
But in a radio interview on 1050 ESPN's "Michael Kay Show," Namath said Sanchez has to be "angry about this. And if he's not, that's strange.
"You have two fine gentlemen but only one position, and the key is winning. Believe me, if you're not winning, you talk about a divided locker room, a divided section of the stadium, it's [going to] be awful."
When asked about Namath's "publicity stunt" comment, Tebow deflected the negativity.
"I don't really take offense to that," the newest Jet said. "I don't think it's true because I think the Jets get a lot of support as it is and have a lot of great fans, and so I don't think it has much to do with that.
"I think it has more to do with just some coaches believing in me and hopefully thinking that I'm an OK football player."