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Rex Ryan Says Jets Knew Tim Tebow Wasn’t a Quarterback When They Traded For Him

Tebow attempted just eight passes for New York in his final NFL season.

Tim Tebow earned 14 starts in his first two years with the Broncos, leading Denver to the AFC Divisional Round in 2011. But after being jettisoned from the Mile High City after two seasons, the former Heisman winner's plan to play quarterback at the pro level quickly dissipated.

The Jets traded for Tebow prior to the 2012 offseason and quickly installed him as a wildcat quarterback. But the Tebow experiment wasn't a perfect fit. 

Former Jets head coach Rex Ryan spoke to The MMQB's Tim Rohan for a story about how Ryan’s former special teams coach Mike Westhoff has used Taysom Hill this season in New Orleans. In the piece, Ryan spoke about when he and Westhoff worked together with the Jets—particularly how they used quarterbacks Brad Smith and Tim Tebow on special teams.

“Tebow wanted everyone to know he was a quarterback,” Ryan told Rohan. “We all knew he wasn’t. But we thought he was a football player and a competitor, and that’s why we used him [on special teams]. … [Westhoff] could take anybody — anybody that had guts, toughness, heart; anybody who had those characteristics — and he’d find a spot for you.”

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Westhoff used Tebow as the personal protector, too. It was the one role in which Tebow excelled that season. He went 3-for-4 converting fake punts for first downs. But Ryan wants to make clear: Tebow wasn’t as versatile of a special teams player as Smith. “Don’t put Tebow in the same category as Brad, because he wasn’t,” Ryan says. “Brad was special.”

Tebow attempted just eight passes for New York. He played his final NFL season in 2012. 

Read Rohan's full story about how Mike Westhoff helped create Taysom Hill's hybrid role with the Saints here.