The New York Jets released quarterback Tim Tebow on Monday, ending his brief and unsuccessful stint at the club and leaving one of the most-hyped players in the National Football League facing an uncertain future.
The Jets notified Tebow of their decision to waive him at a voluntary team workout on Monday morning.
"We have a great deal of respect for Tim Tebow," Jets' head coach coach Rex Ryan said in a statement. "Unfortunately, things did not work out the way we all had hoped.
“Tim is an extremely hard worker, evident by the shape he came back in this off-season. We wish him the best moving forward.”
The decision to release Tebow came just three days after the Jets acquired West Virginia University quarterback Geno Smith at the 78th annual NFL Draft.
The Jets already had five quarterbacks, including Mark Sanchez, the first-choice signal thrower who struggled so badly last season that he lost his starting spot, prompting speculation that someone had to go.
It was little surprise that it was Tebow, a former college football star who won the Heisman Trophy in 2007, who was axed after just one ill-conceived season with the Jets.
He had previously been with Denver, taking the Broncos on an improbable run to the 2011 play-offs, despite criticism and reservations about his ability as a passer.
Tebow had quickly become a cult figure. Deeply religious and with a clean-cut image, he became a magnet for sponsors, signing a range of massive endorsement deals, which earned him an estimated €3 million a year.
His jerseys were among the biggest sellers in the NFL and his trademark touchdown celebration, where he kneeled down in prayer, became known as “Tebowing.”
In early 2012, the Broncos signed future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning after he had become a free agent, and traded Tebow to the Jets.
The Jets said they planned to use Tebow on their special teams and ‘wildcat’ plays, as a complement to Sanchez, but the experiment failed and Tebow mania never quite took off in the New York.
Tebow spent most of each game stuck on the bench and the Jets, who missed the play-offs, were ridiculed for acquiring him then not playing him when Sanchez struggled.
Tebow’s immediate future remains uncertain. Most NFL pundits said he was unlikely to be claimed in the short term because of his high salary, but once he clears waivers, he would be able to sign with any team as a free agent.