Mark Sanchez Identifies With Jets Berating Tebow

Matt Slauson Backtracks Statement, Says Quarterback Is 'Great Player'

Tim Tebow was berated by a dozen New York Jets teammates recently, but now starting QB Mark Sanchez is sticking up for the special teams player and some of his naysayers are changing their tune.

Tebow's name was the topic of discussion for a dozen players who spoke out in recent a New York Daily News article where it was reported that "nobody" wanted to see the backup QB and special teams player become a starter. Despite his league-low 52 percent completion rating, many unnamed Jets players in the article seemed to back Sanchez.

Yet Sanchez, the Jets' starting QB, came to Tebow's defense.

"I've been in those shoes. If anyone knows what it feels like, it's me," Sanchez said in a USA Today report. "He's mentally tough enough to handle it, I know it. He's smart and strong mentally and physically and it really won't bother him."

Last season, Sanchez was berated by some unnamed teammates in a similar fashion to Tebow.

"We have to bring in another quarterback that will make him work at practice," one unnamed player told The New York Daily News last season. "He's lazy and content because he knows he's not going to be benched."

Now that unnamed Jets players are backing Sanchez and throwing Tebow under the bus, the evangelical Christian special teams player is determined not to let it affect his game.

"It's a little disappointing, but you try to go about your business and improve and not let it affect you at all," Tebow said in a USA Today report. "I'm more secure in who I am as a person and football player to look and wonder why. I've got a bunch of great relationships in this locker room and there's a bunch of awesome dudes in here."

While Jets' guard Matt Slauson did not mind being named in the article where he refused to name Tebow as a QB option, calling him an "athlete" instead, the vocal Jets guard later clarified that his statements may have been expressed before the regular season began.

Slauson made sure to clarify that he thought Tebow was a good player and that he was not in the position to speak about what qualifies as a good quarterback.

"I've always thought Tim was a great player. I never said he wasn't a great player," Slauson said. "He's a great dude and I enjoy having him on the team. I don't know what it takes to be a quarterback. I get paid to protect them, but I've seen him throw some really good balls."