FLORHAM PARK, N.J.
Ill conceived and ill fated from the start, Tim Tebow's time in New York has come to an even more disappointing and anticlimactic end than anyone would have imagined.
His acquisition in March was embraced by a coach whose hubris trumped conventional wisdom and simple logic about why it could never work. Tebow went from an intriguing, absurdly overhyped novelty to a horribly miscast player on a team that couldn't figure out how to utilize him and now has no use for him.
In the same week Ryan benched his onetime franchise quarterback, Mark Sanchez, he passed over Tebow and made it clear the Jets will move on without him. Greg McElroy, last year's seventh-round draft choice, will get a look-see for two games to determine if he belongs in the conversation for the starting job now and into the future.
Tebow, a remarkably good soldier, never once complained about his microscopic role. He offered every hint Wednesday that he no longer wants to be a part of the organization. Asked if he'd approached the team about being traded, Tebow said he had not, then added: "I'll just wait until after the season to look at things like that."
Translation: He is out of here.
And who can blame him? The Jets' unwillingness to start him after Sanchez played his way out of the lineup is an unmistakable sign that the Tebow era is over. This was one of the most mishandled quarterback situations in quite some time.
Ryan stubbornly stuck to his conviction that he could create a role for Tebow that would give opponents fits. Even though defensive coordinators had long since figured out how to solve the Wildcat, Ryan and his new offensive coordinator, Tony Sparano, thought they could fool them anyway.
Tebow barely touched the field, and although Ryan repeatedly said the former Broncos quarterback was Sanchez's primary backup and would play if Sanchez didn't, that turned out not to be the case.
Ryan called it a "gut feeling" about starting McElroy, leaving Tebow with a raw deal. The only question is whether he'll be traded or released.
Wearing a gray cap and looking as frustrated as he's been since joining the team, the usually jovial Tebow was sullen yesterday.
"Sometimes things just happen out of your control,'' he said, "and obviously, you might not be pleased with them or happy about it, but you just try to handle it as best you can."
The more important roster decision will be what happens with Sanchez, who gets a guaranteed $8.25 million in salary next year whether he's with the Jets or not. After his disturbing regression, it is almost inconceivable that the Jets will give him back the starting job in the offseason.
It's uncertain if Sanchez will be back, and the team may look to trade him or perhaps even release him. But with so much guaranteed money, the Jets may feel compelled to keep him, even in a backup role.
Some say it's better to cut ties altogether, that keeping Sanchez around will create a toxic atmosphere. But if he doesn't win the job next season, he doesn't figure to be a disruptive presence. In his first practice as a backup, Sanchez acted as the ballboy Wednesday when McElroy was running the first-team offense toward the end of the session. After each play, Sanchez would retrieve the ball, place it on the spot for the next play, then watch McElroy run the play.
Doesn't sound like a guy who'd be a problem in the locker room if he wasn't the starter.
"Look, I'm not going to get into hypotheticals of me being here, not being here," Sanchez said. "Any questions about what's going to happen next year, are you going to be a starter, I'm not going to even go there."
Ryan would address neither quarterback's future Wednesday. "Any long-term discussion will probably be better served after that [Week 17] game," he said of Sanchez.
"We'll see what happens," Ryan said of Tebow. "My focus has to be with those [next] two games and that's it."
Ryan didn't have to say anything directly about Tebow's future as a Jet. The coach's actions made it abundantly clear that he's ready to move on from this failed decision.