By Trevor Kapp and Wil Cruz
MANHATTAN — The New York Jets officially welcomed Tim Tebow — and the media circus that is sure to follow him all season — to town Monday.
One of the most famous, and polarizing, backup quarterbacks in NFL history had his inaugural news conference at noon at the Jets practice facility in Florham Park, N.J., with a throng of media to greet him. Many of the questions he took centered Mark Sanchez, the starting Jets quarterback, and how the two will work together.
"Me and Mark have a great relationship," Tebow told reporters. "We've been friends, and we've texted back and forth."
"We're going to have a great relationship and have a great working relationship...and have a lot of fun together."
Though Sanchez has been the team's starter for each of the last three seasons, taking the team to the AFC Championship game in his first two, Coach Rex Ryan has said he is open to giving Tebow snaps at quarterback.
“Mark Sanchez is our No. 1 quarterback, Tim is our No. 2 quarterback, but he’s also going to do other things for this football team,” Ryan said, according to The New York Times. “He is a football player, and that’s what I keep wanting to put out there. Let’s not just look at him as a quarterback. I look at him as a football player… I see a guy with a lot of ability, and we’re going to do that.”
Tebow said that he has communicated with Sanchez, and insisted the two are on the same page.
"From my conversation with him, he was excited about working with me," he said. "I have a lot of respect for him as a person and a football player.
"Hopefully, we'll be able to thrive together."
The press conference lasted about 45 minutes, covering everything from religion to charity work to the wildcat offense.
The whirlwind week began with Denver Broncos coach John Fox, not long after the team acquired Peyton Manning, telling Tebow that he would likely be traded to the Jets or the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"The next thing I know I get a call from Mr. Tannenbaum and Mr. Ryan and I was a Jet," he said, referring to Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and coach Ryan. "I told him, 'I would love to be a Jet.'
"I'm looking forward to my time here in New York," he added. "I'm very excited."
Tebow, one of the most popular players in the league in part because of his faith, even joked with reporters about being a "high character" athlete.
"That's not true," he quipped.
And he downplayed the media attention he has attracted so far.
"It's an honor for all of you to show up," he said. "I don't feel like it'll be too much of a distraction."
Still, the focus was Tebow's relationship with Sanchez, and if the two could co-exist.
"I think Mark is very secure as a football player and as a person who is not going to let outsiders affect him," he said. "I think working together, we'll be able to encourage one another, and be better together than we are apart."