Tim Tebow was able to keep his shirt on after Friday’s practice. (Bill Kostroun / AP)

A-Rod-esque punching bag for the New York City tabloids or the man who will lead the New York Jets to the promised land (technically, the Super Bowl land that Rex Ryan has promised)?

At the moment, let’s just put Tim Tebow’s shirtless sprint through the rain (captured on the back page of the New York Daily News) in the category of team-building exercises. (It certainly wasn’t ego-building. Headlines: “Not So Incredible Hulk” and “Tebow looks good with jersey off, but not so good with it on.”)

Tebow, the Jets’ backup quarterback/wide receiver/running back/tight end/personal punt protector/Wildcat man/kickoff return specialist, blushed when asked about it by ESPN’s Hannah Storm this morning. “I really didn’t think it was going to be that big a deal,” he said.

It was. He heard about it from his teammates, including the designated starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez. “First, we’re trying to keep our shirts on,” he said when asked about a possible quarterback “controversy.”

Bart Scott was a little less subtle with the jab, although he likes what Tebow has shown in the leadership department. “Oh gosh… the slow motion run,” he said (via the Daily News), laughing. “Like I told him, I’ve never seen anybody decide to take their shirt off in the rain. Usually I put stuff on. Maybe it was holy water, I don’t know.”

A couple of Jets suggested that the move was calculated to distract from his lackluster performance in the first few days of training camp, but mostly his teammates just laughed — and teased him.

“You have to give him a hard time,” Bryan Thomas said. “Man, that's not Christian-like.”

Tebow told the media he was surprised at the reaction. “I mean, I can't tell you how many times probably in Florida or Denver after practice I would do sprints back and forth with that and jog off the field and never think about it again,” he said today. “And it would never get reported and now it does.”

Welcome to New York, big guy.

“Didn't really think y'all would would be filming it and taking pictures.”

Follow us:  @CindyBoren | @MattBrooksWP

More from Washington Post Sports

Tebow traded to New York

Spotlight follows Tebow to NYC

John Elway commits to Tebow...as far as training camp

Credit John 3:16, John Elway and John Fox

The real Tebow: ‘Everything you see is true’

Elway: ‘Just pull the trigger

Tebow on a roll: No shortage of belief or miracles