DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- The possibilities appeared endless for Tim Tebow.
Here he was, perhaps the most popular player in the NFL, in New York as a member of the Jets and maybe the biggest thing to hit Broadway since Joe Namath himself.
There were billboards outside the Lincoln Tunnel in New Jersey welcoming Tebow, and sandwiches named after him at Manhattan delis. He also had a legion of fans who followed him because of his strong Christian beliefs, and in New York, he would be able to take advantage of countless media and marketing opportunities.
And then, it all went terribly wrong.
Or, more like it, the whole idea was completely flawed from the start. For Tebow. And for the Jets.
Tebow was waived Monday morning, the end of an embarrassingly unsuccessful one-season experiment in New York that produced more hype and headlines than production on the field. And it all ended quietly, with a three-paragraph news release.
"Unfortunately," coach Rex Ryan said in a statement, "things did not work out the way we all had hoped."
It also left Tebow's football future very much in doubt.
A year after he threw a TD pass to win a playoff game in overtime for Denver, the Heisman Trophy winner with two college national titles at Florida and a nationwide following may have suited up for the last time.
Tebow took to Twitter a few hours after being waived, citing a bible verse: "Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding," Tebow wrote, "in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
No NFL team has made a pitch to get him. The only nibble so far came from the Montreal Alouettes. They hold his rights in the Canadian Football League and said he could come compete for a job -- as a backup.
"Had this happened back in February, he might have had a chance to at least participate in free agency," said 2002 NFL MVP quarterback Rich Gannon, now an analyst for CBS Sports and SiriusXM NFL Radio. "I don't think there would have been a strong market for him, but at least he would've had that opportunity."
Gannon added that it's an even tougher situation for Tebow now because more than 20 quarterbacks were either drafted or signed as undrafted free agents in the last few days.
"Look, it's a two-way street, though," Gannon said. "It's a business. The Jets were trying to find somebody, a dance partner. Sometimes that goes into the draft and teams are calling around. I'm sure the Jets were trying to shop Tebow, and I'm sure they kept getting denied."
This is the same guy who led the Broncos to the postseason in 2011, but became expendable when Denver signed Peyton Manning as a free agent. The popular backup quarterback was acquired by the Jets in March 2012 for a fourth-round draft pick and $1.5 million in salary. He was introduced at the Jets' facility to plenty of fanfare at a lavish news conference, with Tebow repeatedly saying he was "excited" to be in New York.
It turned out to be one of the few high points in Tebow's stay with the Jets. Along with his shirtless jog from the practice field in the rain during training camp, of course.
The Jets never figured out a way to use Tebow effectively, and he never forced the issue by being a good enough player in practice to make Ryan and his coaches put him on the field more in games.
"If he were to happen to call me, I would say, 'Look, you're starting over,'" former NFL GM Ted Sundquist said. "Tim Tebow needs to redefine who Tim Tebow is, in my opinion. He's no longer a first-round quarterback."
Even recently retired Jets special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff labeled the way the team used Tebow an "absolute mess."
It all cost Tebow his job, along with former general manager Mike Tannenbaum and former offensive coordinator Tony Sparano -- both fired in part because of their roles in what was one of the NFL's messiest quarterback situations in recent memory. It also seriously clouds Tebow's NFL future, which might be extended only, in some people's opinion, if he considers a position change.
"I don't see any team giving him a chance because teams don't want to deal with the following that comes with Tebow," ESPN analyst and former NFL offensive lineman Damien Woody said. "Maybe Canada."