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Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez harmonious now, but will it last?

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The buildup was created by the New York Jets organization, which decided that Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow would be available to the media for the first time this spring on the same day, Thursday, 3 1/2 weeks after the start of the team's voluntary offseason workouts.

Sanchez and Tebow. Not to be confused with Sanchez vs. Tebow.

The interviews were held in front of their lockers, which are separated by 10 stalls, and reflected much common ground. Both players are trying to learn coordinator Tony Sparano's new offense as completely and quickly as possible. They are committed to being supportive teammates. They enjoy each other's company.

"A great relationship," Tebow said. "We're friends."

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Said Sanchez: "He's been great. Everything is as advertised."

The Jets provided transcripts of the interviews, which totaled 4,899 words and included 42 combined uses of the word "great," uttered 23 times by Tebow, 19 by Sanchez.

The harmony seemed genuine, which is easy to figure in mid-May, the start of the season months away. But the overriding question is one that often fits these Jets: Will the good times last?

At every recent opportunity, Jets coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum -- who gave Sanchez a salary cap-friendly contract extension in March then traded for Tebow less than two weeks later -- have emphasized their depth chart: Sanchez is the starter, Tebow the backup.

Yet there is a prevailing feeling regarding the Jets, if not among them, that Sanchez is entering a prove-it-or-lose-it season, his fourth in the NFL. And there is no doubt that Tebow continues to be the kind of guy who knows how to work a room.

Tight end Dustin Keller, one of Sanchez's close friends, said Tebow is a diligent worker who is vocal and wants to be first, even in the weight room and in conditioning drills. Wide receiver Santonio Holmes described Tebow as "a true leader (who) brings that competitive edge." How so? "You have to be around it to see it," Holmes replied.

It is as if even Jets players find it difficult to believe Tebow, who led the Broncos to four consecutive victories after trailing in the fourth quarter late last season, will be satisfied in simply accepting a backup role.

For his part, Tebow darted and deflected. All with a smile.

Asked if "it's fair to say" he wants to be the starter, Tebow responded, "It's fair to say that I always want to be my best. (Be) as good as I can possibly be and push myself to the limits, just as far as quarterback, passer, learning defenses, learning offenses, just trying to be the best football player and person that I can possibly be. That's what I'm not going to settle for -- anything less."

If Tebow's arrival has provided motivation, Sanchez wouldn't admit it. He did say he feels better than ever and has added strength through workouts.

"I'm the kind of guy that competes against myself at all times," Sanchez said. "Whether Tim is here, or there is another backup quarterback, I'm always competing with myself first and then whoever else is in the room, so it doesn't matter either way. But (Tebow) has been great to work with and I'm excited to keep working with him."

Sanchez drew a parallel between Tebow and former backup Mark Brunell. While both are left-handed, there is stark contrast. Brunell turned 40 in his first year with the Jets and his days as a starter were clearly behind him. Tebow, in the infancy of his career, is already described, even by critics, as a winner.

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Subtle -- and intriguing -- was Sanchez's embrace of the unproven notion that Tebow is as much a jack-of-all-trades player as he is a quarterback.

"Fortunately for Tim, he has the ability to do other things and that's why he's on board," Sanchez said. "So he's a backup quarterback first and then he'll do plenty of other stuff."

Tebow has never played a position besides quarterback. Every snap he's taken so far as a Jet has been as quarterback, he said. And, with a nod to his 46.5 completion percentage last season, Tebow has devoted his offseason to becoming more accurate.

Answering a question about what he most looks forward to, Tebow hesitated before deciding it is training camp.

"That's really when teams (come) together and become one team," he said, "and I think that it will be fun to see what happens."

Jets training camp. Sanchez and Tebow. Fun. No guarantee on what might happen.

No argument here.

Follow Kim Jones on Twitter @KimJonesSports

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