Neil Best Newsday columnist Neil Best

Neil Best first worked at Newsday in 1982, then returned in 1985. His SportsWatch column debuted in 2005.


The Jets' (please don't call us a) circus rolls into South Florida next, with attractions such as Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes at the scene of their New Year's Day irresolution and Tony Sparano back where he was dumped as coach of the Dolphins.

But as always, the greatest intrigue can be found in the sideshow that is Tim Tebow, who after six months as a Jet remains a curiosity and little more, a guy who has taken 12 snaps, rushed six times for 33 yards and not thrown a pass.

This is what all those gallons of ink were spilled over?!

Hence Wednesday was another day of questions for Rex Ryan and Tebow about where this is headed, and another day for polite ways of saying it is none of our business.

"The media is not going to drive it,'' Ryan said. "The opponent, they're not going to have any idea what we're going to do with him. I'm certainly not going to let them know, 'Hey, by the way, Tebow's going to play 50 snaps this week.' . . . I'm never going to give you a legitimate answer. I know the answer, but I'm not going to give it to you.''

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That sort of approach made sense in April and June and August. But if this goes on much longer, opponents will start to lose interest, and Tebow will start to wonder why he was brought here.

Already, Ryan's warnings about his not-so-secret weapon are falling flat, even though he insists opponents spend time preparing for the Wildcat. (Dolphins coach Joe Philbin acknowledged the formation has, in fact, taken up time in meetings this week.)

"There could be more opportunities down the road, there could be less,'' Ryan said. "I'm happy he's here, I can tell you that much. As we've said from Day One, this guy is a good football player.

"We're not going in saying he has to get X amount of snaps. That's not what we do.''

Still unanswered, then: What exactly is it that Tebow does do in green?

As Tebow explained it, "I just want to be ready when my number is called and be ready to go and try to provide a spark and try to be someone who can help this team.''

It went on like that for six minutes or so, with Tebow saying he is prepared to pass when called upon, assuming that happens someday. But he is not about to make a stink about it, to reporters or to coaches.

"You just know your role and where you're at and try to do the best with it,'' he said.

Does the subject of playing time come up when he is with family and friends?

"Honestly, they just kind of let that be and we just hang out and have fun and try not to worry about that,'' he said.

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Tebow's paltry workload would be awkward no matter where he was suiting up this weekend. This is not just anywhere, though.

The first time Tebow played at Sun Life Stadium, in 2005, he won a state high school championship, leading Ponte Vedra Nease to a 44-37 victory over Seffner Armwood.

The second time, in 2009, he won a BCS Championship, leading Florida to a 24-14 victory over Oklahoma.

The third time, in 2011, he won in his first NFL start, leading the Broncos to an 18-15 overtime victory over the Dolphins.

He expects 10 or more friends and relatives to be there to see him play, or not, as the case may be.

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Tebow called it a "memorable stadium'' for him. Sunday would be an excellent time to create some new memories there.