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Woody Johnson denies forcing Tebow trade

Tim Tebow looks on as he warms up

Tim Tebow looks on as he warms up before a game against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium. (Oct. 8, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

Contrary to popular opinion, Jets owner Woody Johnson denied he had a heavy hand in bringing Tim Tebow here.

Johnson fired back at reporters during the team’s practice Thursday for “accusing” him of being PSL-driven.

“This phony story about me being more concerned with PSLs or cash or something else,” he fired back. “Listen, my job 1, 2 and 3 is to win games. That’s why I got into football to begin with. It’s to win games. It’s not to sell PSLs or anything else. My job is to win games. That’s where my passion is, that’s what I want to do, that’s why I’m spending all this time in this organization. Not to sell PSLs or to sell hot dogs.

“…It doesn’t have anything to do with that phony argument.”

Johnson may have forgotten that his starting quarterback helped float the idea that the Jets owner pushed the Tebow trade. In response to Johnson’s “can never have enough Tebow” comment while on the political circuit, Mark Sanchez said, jokingly, that his owner was “Selling seats, man.”

Johnson said Thursday that his “involvement” in the Tebow trade was the same as any other roster move. “The final decision, there’s a process involved,” he explained. “The coaches and the general manager make those decisions. And so, he’s no different than any other player.”

Asked if he’s surprised at how little of a weapon Tebow, Johnson paused for several seconds.

“Tebow is the one that everybody’s talking about,” he finally said, “but you have to look at all the players and why aren’t they used and why are they used. When you’re 3-6 you have to evaluate everybody. It’s a team sport. It’s up to coaches and (offensive coordinator) Tony Sparano and the head coach how many plays any player has. And obviously we need a few more good plays and we have to really stop stepping on ourselves in some of the other plays.”

So is he happy he traded for the polarizing backup quarterback?

“I don’t look at individual trades, this way or that way,” Johnson said. “You look at the individual season. You take a look at how you’re doing. I’m not going to talk about a specific player out of 53 players, whether I’m happy or not happy. We think every player that we bring in has something to add to the team and help us win games.”

Johnson, however, had no problems talking about Sanchez.

The owner said his confidence in the Jets starting quarterback hasn’t waned, despite the team’s struggles.

“He’s the starter,” Johnson said matter-of-factly. “He is our franchise quarterback. I don’t view him that way, that’s what he is.”

Johnson also was asked about the anonymous rip jobs of Tebow in a New York tabloid. The Jets owner said blasted the behavior as “cowardly,” but – like Ryan – believes the negative stories could bring players closer together.

“Anybody that’s anonymous has no credibility. Anonymous people don’t speak for the New York Jets,” said Johnson. “…I’m not a coach but I’ve been around this for 13 years now. I see this team as really tight-knit. And maybe it’s because of the stories that have been circulating recently, the unfair criticism and the anonymous criticism – which is kind of cowardly in my opinion.

“Put your name on it,” he demanded. “If you have a criticism, hey, stand up and we’ll be glad to talk to you about it. But I think it is having an affect of, maybe, bringing the guys closer.”  

New York Sports