Tim Tebow walks with offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, who has used the QB sparingly. (Bill Kostroun / AP)

Updated with Ryan’s comments Friday

The New York Jets sure could use a savior, the kind of guy who came on in 2011 and led his team to the NFL playoffs. But all the chants and tweets and fan signs and media criticism of Mark Sanchez won’t prompt the New York Jets to put Tim Tebow in at quarterback.

Tebow, it seems, suffered two broken ribs in a loss two weeks ago to Seattle and he’s still having discomfort with his breathing.

“They need a little time to get better,” Tebow said after the Jets’ horrifying performance in a 49-19 loss to the New England Patriots. Coach Rex Ryan chose to use Tebow as the backup Thursday night, but would have used him only in an emergency. While some saw the Jets’ performance as close to that, Sanchez’s health didn’t warrant risking Tebow’s ribs, especially in light of the frightening rib injury Ben Roethlisberger suffered. It’s rather curious that Ryan chose to keep Tebow as the backup rather than activate Greg McElroy for the game.

“I appreciate his concern,” Tebow said of Ryan. “I had to do a little bit of talking just to dress, but I just want to be there for my teammates in case they needed me in an emergency situation.”

It was a surprise when Tebow, who is averaging only about seven plays on offense, didn’t appear on special teams. Just why did this team trade for him if it isn’t going to play him?

“I was ready to go if they needed me,” he said. “Obviously, it wasn’t ideal. I just wanted to be there for my teammates and do whatever I can to help.”

Ryan explained why he dressed a QB with injured ribs over a health McElroy and tried to clear up questions about why it took so long to diagnose the injury.

“It was never told to me that [Tebow] couldn’t play. In fact, it was just the opposite,” Ryan told reporters Friday. “It was me saying, ‘No, we’re not going to play him unless we absolutely have to.’ Again, it was something I went in and absolutely said, ‘Listen, I don’t want you to play him.’ I told that to [special teams coach Mike] Westhoff, I told that to [offensive coordinator] Tony [Sparano]. I did not feel comfortable, and that’s the truth.”

Ryan reiterated that Tebow could have played in an emergency, though

“My understanding is guys have played with this injury and, regardless of the position, guys have played through cracked ribs and things,” Ryan said. “I’m not a doctor or whatever, but he was cleared to play. Let’s make sure we understand that, that he was cleared to play.”

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