Former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow holds a news conference to discuss his move to the New York Jets.
FLORHAM PARK, NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES (MARCH 26, 2012) (REUTERS) - Greeted by a media crush worthy of a movie star, matinee idol, or world leader, Tim Tebow met the New York media on Monday (March 26) for the first time since being signed as a backup quarterback by the New York Jets.
Over 100 reporters, photographers and TV crews showed up for the news conference, requiring that it be held on the Jets' indoor practice field.
"I'm looking forward to my time in New York and as a Jet and I'm so honored and humbled to be a Jet. I'm so thankful that they wanted me. I'm excited about meeting my team mates. I've had the pleasure of meeting a few already and I'm looking forward to my future as a jet and I'm very very excited about it," Tebow said after strolling across the field to the podium.
The constant clattering of camera shutters lent a background rhythm to the 32-minute session with Tebow, who led Denver to an improbable playoff berth last season but became expendable when the Broncos signed free agent Peyton Manning last week.
An inspirational leader on the field, despite being the National Football League's lowest-rated passer, Tebow has won a huge following for his openly devout Christian beliefs as much as for his heroics on the gridiron.
"I'm someone who is very outspoken about my faith. I've never been ashamed of it and any time I get the opportunity I always thank my lord and savior Jesus Christ because that is the most important thing to me," said Tebow, who wore a conservative gray suit and Jet-green tie to the news conference.
"I don't think all the attention is just because of my faith. I think sometimes it adds a little bit to it. I'm sure I'm not the only athlete that has gotten on a knee and prayed but somehow it's known as Tebowing and I'm not sure why. I think it's just probably had to do a little bit with the hype. But it's not all a bad thing. People were somehow still talking about prayer or talking about my faith then I think that's pretty cool."
Tebow faced the cameras and questions without any major team officials present as the Jets owner and coaches were in Florida for this week's NFL meetings.
The wildy-popular quarterback, who won a Heisman Trophy and two U.S. college championships at the University of Florida in his hometown of Jacksonville, comfortably navigated through the questions.
Tebow said he did not feel pressure coming to New York, and said he looked forward to playing with the Jets partly because of good relationships he had already forged with coach Rex Ryan and starting quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Tebow praised starting quarterback Mark Sanchez, who in the past has bristled at sharing practice snaps with former backup Mark Brunell and feuded with dissatisfied wide receiver Santonio Holmes.
"From my conversations with him you know he was excited, excited about working with me and I'm excited about working with him. I have a lot of respect for him. As a football player, as a person, he's always handled himself with so much class. He has a lot of integrity and he's won a lot of games as a quarter back. I think we'll have a great working relationship and we talked about that, just supporting one another in our roles and I'm excited about that opportunity. I think we'll have a great relationship and hopefully we'll be able to thrive together."
He remained even-keeled even when asked about comments by Hall of Famer and former Jets quarterback Joe Namath, who called the trade for Tebow a publicity stunt by a team that shares its stadium with the Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
Tebow said he was also looking forward to doing local charity work for his Tim Tebow Foundation after spending last week in Alabama helping to raise money for a cancer foundation.
As for trying to spread his faith or being captivated by the lures of a big city, Tebow said he is not concerned.
"Ultimately, I'm just going to be myself and just have fun with it and not worry about what I can't control. That's something I learned early on in Florida. If you can't control it don't worry about it. Honestly, I'm going to try to be the best team mate, the best football player I can be and set a good example. Besides that I'm not going to worry too much else."