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Rex Ryan calls Tebow-bashing 'cowardly,' says Jets won't be 'pulled apart'

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Wednesday morning's revelation that anonymous members of the Jets think Tim Tebow is "terrible" set the sports world on fire and brought up memories of the 2011 Jets and the 2011 Broncos.

It also upset Rex Ryan, who said Wednesday afternoon he "addressed" the issue with the team and called the Tebow-bashing a "cowardly thing."

"Did I address it? I absolutely addressed it," Ryan said. "Because I think it's a cowardly thing. If you're not going to put your name to it, I think that's about as cowardly of a thing as there is. I even mentioned that. I said, ‘Look, if …'

"Well, I don't want to get into specifics of what I said. But I did address it with our football team. I absolutely did."

When the issue was raised with Tebow, he offered this: "This is something I can't control," he said according to the Associated Press. "I can control my attitude, my effort and my work ethic. Those are things that will never change based on what anybody says."

The former Heisman Trophy winner and Broncos first-round pick conceded that he's dealt with critics his entire football-playing life and he uses it as motivation.

"I always find the good and the positive in every situation," he said, "and the positive of this is to go and work a little harder and build better relationships with your teammates."

We'd expect nothing less from Tebow.

Meanwhile, the comments from anonymous players should sound familiar: We saw something similar happen just last year. Except that time it was Mark Sanchez getting the bad-mouth treatment, and the comments didn't seep out until January. But there was another striking similarity: Ryan refuses to believe that his locker room is in trouble.

"If you're searching for things to try to drive a wedge through the team and all that ... my thing is that I believe in this team," Ryan said. "I believe this team is like this and will continue to be like this and maybe even come tighter. I'm confident that that will be a case."

But when asked about the issues that popped up with Sanchez last year versus the issues with Tebow this season, Ryan said he doesn't believe the Jets "have the same problem" and classified the 2011 issue as "over-exaggerated."

"I don't think we have the same problem," Ryan said. "Even back then, I think that was probably a little more over-exaggerated that actually was the rift in the entire locker room. I don't think it existed the way it was portrayed. But I do recognize that there was something wrong there. I've made it my personal agenda to go out and fix it."

Here's the problem: It's not fixed. The Jets continue to be a train wreck on the field and it's creating a train wreck inside the locker room.

The bashing of Tebow is, indeed, cowardly. But Ryan's delusion -- not to mention the fact that the entire press conference was about media issues, rather than actual football ones -- shows exactly how bad off this team really is.

Tebow might, in fact, be terrible. But so are the Jets, and it's not the backup quarterback who's bringing them down.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed watch Pro Football 360 daily at 3 p.m. ET and NFL newsletter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.

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