Updated 8:10 p.m. Tim Tebow's time is up in New York.
Once heralded as the Jets' holy savior, Tebow's first season with the team turned into a dud, and he will not return for 2013, a league source confirmed to Newsday on Thursday.
The backup QB was visibly frustrated in interviews this week after he was passed up for the starting slot in this weekend's matchup against San Diego, the home finale for the Jets, who are 6-8 and were eliminated from playoff contention on Monday.
"Some things are hard to understand," Tebow told reporters Wednesday, a day after learning from coach Rex Ryan that third-stringer Greg McElroy would start Sunday's game.
"Sometimes things just happen out of your control. Obviously, even though you might not be pleased with them, you have to try and handle them the best you can," Tebow said.
And when asked on Wednesday if having McElroy start instead of him was his lowest moment as a Jet, he replied: "I'm not sure. That's a good question."
The source said the Jets will try to trade Tebow, 25, during the offseason, but if a trade partner cannot be found, they will release him before the free-agency period in March.
The former Denver starting QB came to New York last spring, bringing with him a media circus and a ray of hope for Jets fans who had been frustrated with franchise QB Mark Sanchez, whose dismal performance on Monday night lost him the starting job.
The Jets, desperate to add some flair to their offense, traded fourth- and sixth-round picks to Denver in exchange for Tebow and a seventh-round pick last March. The team committed $3.6 million to make the arrangement work - $1.6 million in salary and bonuses for Tebow this season, plus a $2 million payout to the Broncos, per their trade agreement.
But it was clear early on that this trade wasn't working out for the Jets or Tebow, as he saw very limited time on the field.
"I'm not surprised that leaving would be his wish, because they haven't given him a chance," said Brian Bassett of TheJetsBlog.com.
"About a month into the season, once they just didn't play him at all and seemed like they just didn't want to, it was pretty clear that this was going to be the case," Bassett said. "You have to feel bad for him."
Mark Sanchez may also hit the Road
Mark Sanchez, removed as the Jets starting quarterback on Tuesday, could be on his way out.
A league source told Newsday on Wednesday night that "while trading Sanchez can't be ruled out, the team will consider all options during the off-season."
For what it's worth, Jets coach Rex Ryan pleaded ignorance to such talk of dealing the former face of the franchise.
"That didn't come from me or anything else," he told Newsday on Thursday.