Tim Tebow clears air, admonishes critics like Hoge

By Adam Silverstein
December 26, 2012

New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, infuriated over holiday weekend reports that “opted out” of playing the Wildcat in a conversation with head coach Rex Ryan last Tuesday, disputed those reports, stood up for himself and defended his character when he spoke with the New York media on Wednesday.

“I never said, ‘Hey, I don’t want to do anything. I won’t do anything,’” explained Tebow, according to the New York Daily News. “That wasn’t the talk at all. [Ryan] knows that. And everybody on this team knows that I would never not to do something if I was asked. That’s what’s disappointing. People saying, ‘Oh, you quit.’ or ‘You didn’t do this.’ That was not it at all. It was just me asking to get an opportunity to play the position I love, which is quarterback. It wasn’t me asking out of anything.”

Tebow claims that either Ryan, or those the coach relayed the conversation to, misunderstood the message that he was trying to send, which was that he wanted to play “regular quarterback” and wanted to do more than continue “running up the middle” as he had been in the Wildcat plays called for him. As he told ESPN‘s Adam Schefter over the weekend, his frustration and disappointment was built up over the entire season and came to a head when Ryan decided to replace Mark Sanchez with third-stringer Greg McElroy. Tebow was under the impression that he, as the back-up, was in line to replace Sanchez.

A team-first player all season long who saw the field as a punt protector, H-back, fullback, wide receiver, tight end and seldom-used Wildcat player, Tebow wanted to do more than run straight into the offensive line, which was the extent of most of his plays this season. He hoped for the opportunity to see all three downs when he was substituted into the game and play real quarterback at some point during the year.

“I was definitely disappointed and frustrated and I let him know that,” he said. “Just asked for an opportunity to play quarterback. [On Friday, I told him that] I would do anything for this team like I have all year from punt to hands team to catching passes … whatever I could do. He appreciated that. He understood.”

What appears to have bothered Tebow even more than Ryan’s decision last week is how his character has been attacked by the media that jumped on the original report from ESPNNewYork.com and have been calling him everything from a quitter and saying he is as “phony as a three-dollar bill.”

“When people talk about how you play football and how much, that’s one thing,” he said. “That really doesn’t bother me. I think the only thing that’s been disappointing these last few days and frustrating is people saying, ‘Oh you quit on your team or you’re not a good teammate.’ For people to not know the situation and then start to bash your character and then say you’re a phony or you’re a fake or you’re a hypocrite, I think that’s what’s disappointing and that’s what’s frustrating.

“Your character is who you are as a man and that’s a lot more important. … I take that way more serious than I’ll ever take a football game.”

He continued, “You work your whole life to build a reputation. Then people try to bring you down when they don’t understand even what happened. It’s disappointing. You just want to express your side of the story … not just that … your character and who you are. You want people to look at what really happened, not what one person said.”

Much of that response from Tebow seems directed towards ESPN analyst Merril Hoge, who lambasted him as a player and person Monday on SportsCenter.

Hoge said Tebow is “as phony as a three-dollar bill” with this story showing “what he’s really about.” He then opined that the Jets “didn’t realize how bad Tim Tebow was” and said “he’s not really a good football player.” He also warned the Jacksonville Jaguars, reportedly Tebow’s next home, what is in store for them if they sign or trade for him.

“Jacksonville Jaguars beware. If you think you’re going to bring Tim Tebow in there to change your organization around and bring a win, bring fans in there, you’re crazy,” Hoge said. “The only way Jacksonville is going to bring their fans back is by bringing a winning organization together. He is not going to win for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He’s not going to do that. All he will do is set the organization back further if that is a possible feat because this organization is down as far as you can be. The last person they need is a guy like this, now that we’re starting to see even his true colors. … He has not proven he is good enough to be a starter in the National Football League. If he had shown that, the New York Jets would start him.”


  1. Oldflyer says:

    I wish Tim had named names and phrased his comments a bit stronger. But, then he wouldn’t be Tim.

  2. Matt says:

    Hoge doesn’t care for the facts. He only wants to put out controversial opinions to attract attention because it’s the only way he can get that attention. He’s not a good analyst, wasn’t a good player, has no real skill, so he has to resort to attention-grabbing opinions and name-calling. ESPN milked it for all it was worth because it was driving viewers and ratings on TV and clicks on articles which boosted ad viewing, as well.

  3. SJ210 says:

    It’s sad what passes for journalism these days. Merrill Hoge is a prime example. For whatever reason the guy has a personal vendetta against Tebow and espn grants him a platform to carry it out. Shameful.

  4. Phil says:

    “He has not proven he is good enough to be a starter in the National Football League. If he had shown that, the New York Jets would start him.”

    Clearly the NYJets have proven that they have the skills to access, develope, & put a winning team on the field. After all, look how much success they’ve had recently at the QB position.

  5. Gatorgrad79 says:

    The “4 letter network” is a joke. Last week they said “no more Tebow coverage” when the news was mostly that people admired him as a person and wanted to see him given an opportunity as a player. This week, when there is a whisper of a negative story (FALSE STORY) they renege on the “no Tebow” stance and give douchebag Hoge an open mic….another reminder of why I hate to watch that network.

  6. g8ter27 says:

    I have often wondered about Hoge and Kordell Stewart…both ex Steelers and…hmmm. Maybe ESPN should run with that rumor too like they do with all the other BS.

  7. HardToKillGtr says:

    Hoge is a guy who should never miss a chance to shut up.

  8. Ranger says:

    Tebow should have his lawyers put the SWEAT to ESPN, and to Hoge!
    That is defamation of character. Not the critiicisms of his playing, but the critiicisms of his character!

  9. Billy Jean says:

    Hoge is the biggest dumbass on television right now – saying that about Tebow is a F*cking disgrace and all i wanted to do was punch the dude in the face. The JETS are a walking abortion of an organization and Merril Hoge is basically a cunt that the Jets get to f*ck and the shit that comes out of his mouth is the JETS remaining ejaculate.

    Seriously – Hoge is a douchebag and should kill himself sooner than later.

  10. brandon hays says:

    Hoge reminds me of Jerry Springer. He couldn’t make it being legit, so he had to go down the bulls*#t road to get attention! Hoge asked Tebow for his autograph several times and when Tim continued to turn him down, that’s we Hoge went after him! Its ok to be jelous Mr. Hoge, just keep it to yourself though!! By the way, at least play the game you are analyzing before you go ripping someone up…do what…oh sorry, someone just told Hoge did play! Wow, didn’t know!!!

    • Gators22 says:

      Hoge is a desperate, seldom used characture that ESPN pulls out of the closet to stir ratings. He dresses absurdly, appears stiff on the air, and adds little professional insight other than being controversial.

      He needs Tebow to bash to remain relavent.

  11. Timmy T says:

    This guy has hate issues. I don’t know where it comes from or why he feels the need to vent it, but its obvious. Other pundits say Timmy can’t throw, has bad form, is terribly inaccurate etc.., without the vitriol. Hoge comes off angry and hurtful. He seems to feel its necessary to try and jab Timmy with every word. I ain’t no physchiatrist, but that bitch is straight up envious and jealous with a major inferior complex. Anybody can smell what he’s cooking.

  12. Pvt_Frank says:

    Hoge is a jealous punk. It’s time he goes…


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