Sanchez: Jets fueled Tebow hype

It took several months to speak his mind, but New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez finally offered an unfiltered opinion this week on last season's Tim Tebow media circus, suggesting the organization contributed to the excessive hype.

Sanchez said the media coverage, particularly last summer in training camp, was more intense than when the Jets reached back-to-back AFC Championship Games in 2009 and 2010.

"I think part of that, too, is ESPN didn't necessarily sneak in overnight at our training camp," he said on FOX Sports Radio in Los Angeles. "They had to get permission to go.

"You can avoid that stuff on your own if you like, in my opinion, but he's a popular guy and people gravitate toward the guy. He's a special person and a heck of a competitor, so people want to know what's going on, but that's all I got on that."

Sanchez said Tebow received more media attention than any player he's ever been around, adding, "I just don't know if it was the best situation for either of us, but you play with the cards you are dealt with and do the very best you can."

Sanchez made his comments Wednesday on the "Petros and Money Show," but the transcript wasn't distributed until Friday. He has known the hosts since his college days at USC and appears on their show periodically.

Coverage of Tebow last summer was excessive, fueling the perception that the Jets acquired the backup quarterback simply as a publicity stunt.

At the time, owner Woody Johnson said "the enormity of the coverage has surprised me a little bit," yet the Jets allowed ESPN to camp out inside the training facility in Cortland, N.Y. The Jets also introduced Tebow at a massive news conference, highly unusual for a backup.

The Tebow trade never matched the hype, as he disappointed in a small role and mysteriously was passed over for the starting job when an ineffective Sanchez was benched late in the season.

Curiously, Tebow remains on the roster -- he's participating in the voluntary offseason program -- but his days appear numbered. The Jets are expected to release Tebow, perhaps as soon as after the April 25-27 draft.

The ill-fated Tebow trade was one of the reasons general manager Mike Tannenbaum was fired after a 6-10 season.

Throughout a dismal season, Sanchez, who committed 26 turnovers for the second straight year, always downplayed the Tebow factor, never expressing any frustration with his presence.

That changed with Wednesday's comments, although Sanchez took some responsibility for his poor play.

"There's a bunch of situations for me, personally, I wish I would have played a little better at times, but that's part of playing this game and trying to develop your identity as an offense," he said. "And some of the injuries we sustained prevented us from doing that.

"That's part of the game, too, so we really underachieved as a team."

Sanchez's radio interview is the latest chapter in the quarterback soap opera that has made headlines recently. Sanchez's private instructor, former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia, ripped Tebow last week in an interview with USA Today.

On Wednesday, Steve Clarkson, who tutored Tebow for two days this offseason, conducted a conference call with reporters and fired back at Sanchez, calling him "fragile-minded." A source said Clarkson's remarks don't reflect Tebow's opinion.