It’s been an interesting journey for Tim Tebow with the Jets this season, and one that appears to be coming to an end.

The early signs that Rex Ryan is trying to distance himself from the 2nd-year quarterback came to light on Thursday, with Ryan saying that they’re ditching the Wildcat and keeping Tebow sidelined on punt protection.

During his press conference Ryan cited Tebow’s health as the reason he’ll be kept off the field during punts, and the fact the Wildcat hasn’t been productive to back up his other decision.

However, Tebow will still be the Jets back-up behind Mark Sanchez.

“I don’t really see him in that [punt team] role,” Ryan told reporters yesterday. “As far as the Wildcat, obviously with the ribs the way they are . . . Hopefully, once we get the OK with those ribs, we can expand that, but that’s probably not necessarily going to be a big factor in our game plan.  He can be the backup quarterback and run some base things.”

The whole situation has been a mess and a distraction all season, likely factoring into how Sanchez has more or less imploded just two seasons removed from leading the Jets to back-to-back AFC Championship appearances.  The Jets were 8-8 last season and Sanchez received a contract extension back in March.

Then for some strange reason the Jets decided to bring the Tebow circus to town. along with his legion of fans.

The result?  When the going got rough the fans didn’t rally behind him, they started chanting for Tebow instead.  That’s not to say Sanchez doesn’t deserve some criticism for being a guy they’ve paid a lot of money that doesn’t appear to be tough enough to mentally deal with it, but it’s obvious it was a deal they really shouldn’t have made because Tebow just isn’t a fit with this franchise.

Now Ryan has to try and walk a fine line for the rest of the year to try and get through it and then likely move on from him once the year comes to an end.

That is of course if Ryan is able to survive long enough to coach in New York again next season.  And for that, his fate is in Sanchez’ hands.