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Tim Tebow has been the most talked about NFL player since entering the league in 2010. Even now, “Tebowmania” keeps fans captivated, as the “intangibles vs. ability” debate transcends the football field, making him as polarizing as any American athlete.
How would the drama have played out if Tebow went down the MLB route instead?
Veteran scout Tom Kotchman wonders the same thing, telling Rob Bradford of WEEI.com about how the Los Angeles Angels had legitimate interest:
“We wanted to draft him,” Kotchman remembered, “but he never sent back his information card. Either it never got to him, or … It’s Tim Tebow. Who knows if it got to him, and if it did we just never got it back. Otherwise [we] were going to take him.”
And Kotchman knows amateur talent better than anyone. He fathered 10-year major league veteran Casey Kotchman, spent 29 years managing and evaluating in the Angels organization, and has been inducted into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame. The Boston Red Sox currently utilize his knowledge as a Florida-area scout.
Stephen Hargett worked with Kotchman back in the day. He recalls that Tebow “had a strong arm and had a lot of power” from the left side as a player at Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, Florida. In 2006, the junior outfielder batted .494 with four home runs.
All the club needed was that darn information card. It posed “a series of questions to the player, including their interest in playing professional baseball,” Bradford explains.
Let’s presume that Tebow had a passion for America’s Pastime, and as a late-round draft pick, he accepted a modest signing bonus to begin his career.
Why would a still-promising young quarterback, who is arguably less of a bust than the man he backed up last season in the New York Jets, sign for the New England Patriots, a team whose franchise quarterback is still putting up big numbers in his mid-30s? And why would this quarterback sign with the Pats when he may be third in the rotation behind said franchise QB and a talented second-year man who could be a steal for a 2012 third-rounder? According to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, ex-Denver Broncos and NY Jets quarterback Tim Tebow was signed by the team because the Pats were lacking in “spirituality.”
“For me personally, having Tim Tebow on this team, he’s someone who believes in spirituality, he’s very competitive, works hard and has a great attitude,” said Kraft yesterday at a special charity event. “He’s a winner, and the fact that spirituality is so important to him is very appealing to me.” Tebow was signed this week by the Patriots to a two-year non-guaranteed contract, five weeks after being released by the Jets. Tebow is expected to be third in the Patriots’ quarterback rotation behind Tom Brady and 2012 draftee Ryan Mallett.
While Kraft was ebullient in describing Tebow’s spirituality and how it can help the Patriots, head coach Bill Belichick was more terse in assessing the 25-year-old quarterback’s minicamp performance thus far. On Tuesday, Belichick curtly told reporters that he is “not going to get into a minute-by-minute evaluation of a player” at this time of the year. Kraft, however, had a few words about Tebow’s on-field performance in the three-day minicamp, comparing him favorably to both Brady and Mallett as someone who can throw the football “really well.” This shocked not a few experts, who have largely been critical of Tebow’s lack of throwing skills since his days as the Broncos’ starting quarterback.
Tim Tebow came home on Friday night with a message that’s become a recurring theme in his ministry.
NFL quarterback or not — and he’s not right now after being released by the New York Jets — Tebow’s going to continue using the platform that he’s been given to make an impact any way that he can.
Tebow spoke at New Life Christian Fellowship as part of his Inspire series. Recently named the world’s most influential athlete by Forbes, Tebow didn’t talk about his lofty status, or future as an NFL player. While the debate about where the former Nease High and University of Florida star will end up continues to drag on, that wasn’t the message.
Tebow instead chose to share numerous stories from his well-known words of faith and hope. Tebow, who wasn’t made available to the media, talked about everything from his competitive nature as a 4-year-old tee-ball player (his coach thought Tebow’s mentality was a little too much), to his most forgettable recruiting trip in high school (Notre Dame). Most of the stories began with sports and ended with some tie to faith or humility.
For many in the audience, it was a chance to see and hear Tebow without “Jets” or “Jaguars” or “throwing motion” attached. It was a simple night that several people said was like a conversation around a table with an old friend. New Life’s Melodee Nobles said that 750 people attended the event.
“It was fun out there, how can it not be with that guy out there,” said Denny Thompson, a Providence assistant football coach who helped WJXL radio host Joe Cowart with an auction of Tebow-related memorabilia that raised $12,700. “It was a great night out there.”
Providence junior Jack Halton, a tight end on the Stallions football team, said the night allowed the audience to hear Tebow, unscripted, talk about more than just football.
“You don’t get to see who’s behind the pads and we got a chance to see that,” Halton said. “He goes out of his way to reach out to kids. It’s just great to see that even someone [famous] like him will do that. I thought he was great.”
Outside of the Florida-Florida State zingers that drew the most applause, Tebow’s football line of the night came when Erik Dellanback asked about the most memorable moment of his 2011 season with the Denver Broncos.
“One of my favorite stories, ironically, was against the New York Jets,” Tebow said of a Nov. 17 game, a 17-13 Broncos win.
“And probably my greatest Jets highlight, I guess.”
Dellenback, executive director of Tebow’s foundation, said that some of the most special events that Tebow takes part in are those like Friday’s. Tebow does about 20 events every year like the Inspire forum. “We get to play a small part in making a difference,” Dellenback said. “God changes people we just get an opportunity to plant the seed.”
Tim Tebow has a chance to start over, as former NFL quarterback and partial owner of the Philadelphia Soul (Arena League) Ron Jaworski has offered him a roster spot.
The Philadelphia Daily News’ Ed Barkowitz reported this story on Monday after speaking with Jaworski, who said, “I haven’t heard back from him and I’m not going to push it. If he decides he wants to play Arena Football, we’ll make a spot for him.”
Kurt Warner was an Arena League quarterback before becoming a Super Bowl winner and multiple-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler. It’s the road less traveled, to be sure, but a new beginning with Jaworski’s Soul could be just the fresh start Tebow needs to get back into the NFL.
At this time, Tebow isn’t receiving any interest from NFL franchises. The circus that surrounds him isn’t something teams want to deal with from a backup quarterback, which is what Tebow has become in the last year-plus.
Yahoo! Sports’ Michael Silver recently wrote a column in which he pontificated about whether or not Tebow is being “blackballed” by NFL teams who don’t want to deal with Tebowmania.
The truth of the matter, however, is that Tebow’s troubles don’t stop with the media throng that shadows his every move.
He’s simply not a good quarterback at this point in his career.
With a career completion percentage of 47.9 and an elongated, slow windup, Tebow doesn’t scare NFL defenses with his arm. This is a big reason why Jaworski believes a stint in the Arena League would do Tebow a world of good, per Barkowitz’s report:
“One [criticism] of Tebow is that he is slow and methodical. He would be forced to quicken it up in this league and it would be good training for him. You can learn a lot in this league. It’s about processing information and getting the ball out . . . or you get whacked.”
Jaworski isn’t wrong.
Tebow needs to work on his mechanics, his field vision and his accuracy. A year or two in the Arena League would certainly help him improve in those areas.
At this time, Tebow has yet to respond to this offer, but it’s an offer he should strongly consider.
Well, it happened. Tim’s a free agent without a team. Where do you think he’ll end up?
The Jets released popular backup quarterback Tim Tebow on Monday morning, The Post has learned. The move comes three days after they drafted Geno Smith in the second round to compete with Mark Sanchez, David Garrard and Greg McElroy for the starting quarterback spot.
It ends Tebow’s 13 months with the Jets that were more memorable for all of the headlines than anything that actually happened on the field. The Jets acquired him from the Broncos in March 2012 for a fourth-round draft pick (the two teams also swapped later draft picks).
The Jets confirmed the news with a press release that included a quote from coach Rex Ryan.
“We have a great deal of respect for Tim Tebow,” Ryan said in the statement. “Unfortunately, things did not work out the way we all had hoped. Tim is an extremely hard worker, evident by the shape he came back in this offseason. We wish him the best moving forward.”
Tebow reported to the Jets training center in Florham Park to work out this morning, according to a source. Before he made it to the weight room, he was summoned to general manager John Idzik’s office where he was informed of his release by Idzik and Ryan.
The arrival of Tebow last year was marked by a splashy news conference that irritated some who believed the Jets were making too big a deal of a backup quarterback. The Jets sold the move by saying they would use Tebow in a variety of roles, including running the wildcat formation, but it never worked.
Tebow played just over 70 snaps on offense. He also served as the personal protector on the punt team until injuring his ribs in November. He completed 6-of-8 passes for 39 yards and ran the ball 32 times for 102 yards. He did not score a touchdown.
The Tebow acquisition had far-reaching consequences. Former offensive coordinator Tony Sparano never figured out how to use Tebow, and it cost him his job. Former general manager Mike Tannenbaum lost his job after the season in part because of the Tebow trade. Starting quarterback Mark Sanchez also regressed greatly in 2012, and many believe Tebow’s presence contributed to that.
It was a comedown for the Heisman Trophy winner from 2011 when he led the Broncos to a division title. But after the team picked up Peyton Manning, Tebow hit the trading block and the Jets grabbed him.
Tebow’s time in New York will be remembered for the massive coverage it drew during training camp, including a memorable shirtless run through the rain, rather than football.
The whole experiment really failed in December when Ryan decided to make a change at quarterback, but passed over Tebow for McElroy. Tebow told Ryan he did not want to run the gimmicky offenses anymore and just wanted to play traditional quarterback.
By the time the season was over, everyone, including Tebow, seemed miserable that he ended up a Jet. Now, Tebow is now a free agent. It will be fascinating to see if he gets picked up.
It caps a remarkable eight days for Idzik, who traded start cornerback Darrelle Revis to the Buccaneers on April 21, drafted Smith in the second round of the Draft and now jettisoned Tebow.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Tim Tebow plans to report for the New York Jets’ offseason workouts Monday with a “great attitude.”
Speaking at his annual charity event in his hometown Friday night, Tebow offered little insight into his feelings about the Jets signing quarterback David Garrard or about the rampant speculation that his time in New York might be ending after one disappointing and unproductive season.
“It’s nothing I can control, and like I’ve said ever since I was at Nease High School, I really try not to worry about what I can’t control,” Tebow said. “Just try to have the best attitude, have the best effort, a great work ethic, and so far, this offseason has been a lot of fun. Been my best yet.”
Tebow ran for just 102 yards, completed 6 of 8 passes for 39 yards and scored zero touchdowns for the Jets last season after being acquired in a 2012 trade from the Denver Broncos.
Tebow went from being considered a key part of the Jets’ offense to almost non-existent. Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano didn’t know how to use Tebow effectively, and Tebow wasn’t particularly productive when he got his few snaps in the Wildcat-style formation. He made his biggest mark on special teams as the personal punt protector and did all he could to hide his frustration at not playing.
The popular and polarizing player didn’t even get a chance when Jets starter Mark Sanchez was benched for the first time in his NFL career. Instead of going with Tebow, the No. 2 quarterback on the Jets’ depth chart, coach Rex Ryan went with third-stringer Greg McElroy.
Acquiring Tebow ultimately led to Sparano and Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum losing their jobs. And the one failed season clouded Tebow’s NFL prospects. No matter what, though, he insists he’s a quarterback.
“It’s always been my dream, always will be,” Tebow said, essentially nixing any thoughts about him switching to tight end, fullback or safety.
After the Tim Tebow Foundation Celebrity Gala & Golf Classic at TPC Sawgrass, Tebow will return to New York and join his teammates for offseason conditioning. The Jets’ quarterback depth chart certainly is more crowded than ever, with the team bringing in Garrard to compete with Sanchez for the starting job. The Jets also have Tebow, McElroy and Matt Simms on the roster.
“Yeah, I’ll be there Monday ready to work out and have a great attitude,” Tebow said.
Tebow also downplayed the difficulty of the last few months, which included the signing of Garrard, his uncertain NFL future and even his hometown Jacksonville Jaguars publicly saying they have no interest in signing him even if he is released.
“It’s been a great offseason,” Tebow said. “I’ve had a great time.”
If the NFL doesn’t work out for Tim Tebow, the 25-year-old will not be short on job offers.
During an offseason in which Tebow spoke to more than 10,000 people at a recent event at Liberty University, the backup New York Jets quarterback was also offered a contract by an AFL team.
And in case he’s bored with football and the speaking circuit, Tebow could always begin anew in Hollywood. According to TMZ, Tebow received an offer from faith-based director David Dginguerian to star in one of Dginguerian’s future films.
“You are an inspiration to so many on the field and off,” Dginguerian wrote. “and I am certain that your passion will also come through in films.”
Much remains unclear about the movie, including what Tebow would be paid, when the movie would shoot and what Tebow’s role would be.
Tim Tebow’s days as a New York Jet are essentially over (there are now four quarterbacks on the roster), and no one really knows where he will end up.
It turns out that the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League would welcome him with open arms.
“Tim would certainly want to first exhaust his opportunities in the NFL, but we’d love to have him,” Predators owner Brett Bouchy told the Orlando Sentinel. ”I think he would definitely improve as a quarterback in our league. Kurt Warner told me once that when he got back to the NFL after playing in the Arena League, the NFL game was like slow motion. Everything in the Arena League is just so much faster and quicker and predicated on accuracy. Whenever Tim is willing, we have a contract waiting for him to sign.”
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