LITTLE ROCK — Generally dismissive of team-first quotes from professional athletes who have been traded, Tim Tebow rhetoric is the exception.

LITTLE ROCK — Generally dismissive of team-first quotes from professional athletes who have been traded, Tim Tebow rhetoric is the exception.

Best I can tell, he is a man of his word.

Tebow will not babble one thing to the media about doing what’s best for the team and then say or do something behind closed doors to undercut No. 1 quarterback Mark Sanchez or divide the locker room. You can question Tebow’s passing motion, his ability to throw from the pocket, and you can find his religious vigor to be too much, but you cannot doubt his character.

Because of his moral strength, he is uniquely qualified to make a two-quarterback system work in the NFL. In fact, Tebow might be the only quarterback in the league willing to accept a backup role for the good of the team. Do not interpret that to mean he does not want to be the starter; every competitor wants to be No. 1. But, with him, team truly comes first.

Shortly after Denver locked up Peyton Manning and traded Tebow to the New York Jets, Tebow said he was excited about the opportunity and that he would help the team in any way possible. The quote that sold me: “And whatever that role is, whatever that fashion is, I will do my best.”

Anything less would be a shock.

Tebow espoused a similar theme Monday during a 32-minute news conference at the Jets’ headquarters in New Jersey on Monday.

As soon as the trade was made, the old adage that “If you have two quarterbacks, you really don’t have any,” came up at least a half-dozen times. True most of the time, this is different — this is a pocket quarterback who’s not particularly mobile and a quarterback who is as apt to run as he is to throw.

Together they offer two vastly different offenses, particularly with new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano working with Tebow. Sparano was one of the first in the NFL to use the Wildcat offense, lining up running back Ronnie Brown as a shotgun quarterback in Miami.

The time a defense spends preparing for a run or pass quarterback means less time to work on blitzes and coverages that are necessary to counter a pocket passer.

To make this fragile venture work will take cooperation on many fronts:

• Coach Rex Ryan and the Jets’ management must hold the line in support of Sanchez. The first time that the No. 1 quarterback throws two interceptions or misses an open receiver on third down during a fourth-quarter drive, the “Te-bow, Te-bow,” chant will begin. If they give in and start Tebow the next week, they have nobody but themselves to blame for carping from the media and dissension in the locker room.

Jets’ General Manager Mike Tannebaum has said the team will do a lot of great things with Sanchez, explaining Tebow’s presence by saying, “Every quarterback in the NFL has a backup.”

• Sanchez cannot allow himself to be consumed by paranoia. He must disregard the inevitable “Te-bow” chants and trust that Tebow is there to support him and help the Jets win. The three-year, $40.5 million extension he signed this month should get him through any rough patches. For that kind of money, he should be able to stand on the sideline for 15-18 plays per game and cheer heartily for his teammate.

• Fans should be unified and view Sanchez and Tebow as one at quarterback. A difficult task in any market, but particularly so in New York.

The only certainty is that Tebow will do his part.

Harry King is sports columnist for Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau. His e-mail address is