KEN WILLIS: If Tim Tebow is ever going to reconsider the NFL, the time is now

Ken Willis
The Daytona Beach News-Journal
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Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer will never fully replicate their glory days with the Gators, but could there be a role for the former quarterback with Meyer's Jaguars? If nothing else, it's fun to speculate.

When another former Gator coach went to the NFL and tried to win with his former Gator quarterbacks, it didn’t work.

But Steve Spurrier was trying to replicate the style of offense that worked so well in Gainesville, and Funnin’ and Gunnin’ wouldn’t work in Washington for Danny Wuerffel and Shane Matthews.

This, however, could be different.

Tim Tebow hasn’t played baseball for 17 months, and back in the summer of 2019 he was batting a buck-63 with the Mets’ Triple A team in Syracuse. It appeared his baseball fling had topped out the previous year in Double-A, where he hit .273 but with too little power to justify his too many strikeouts.

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Last year was a COVID-induced washout that claimed the entire season for minor league baseball. And now Tebow is 33, awaiting spring training with the Mets and what figures to be his make-or-break moment in a baseball career that first took root five years ago. Yes, time flies.

Before that, his football career dead-ended when it became apparent he just didn’t have everything NFL coaches want in a quarterback — most notably, he didn’t have an NFL arm. His dream of building an NFL career was done, and nothing could change that.

Or could it? 

Assuming you haven’t already, take a look at Taysom Hill during Sunday’s Saints-Bucs playoff game. Officially listed as a backup quarterback, Hill lines up all over the field as a very important and useful weapon for the Saints. Even at 33, at least for a while, maybe that could be Tim Tebow.

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Sure, that’s been true of Tebow for many years, even before you ever heard of Taysom Hill, but it’s especially fun to consider now because Urban Meyer just took over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Tebow’s former college coach, whom he stills holds in the highest esteem, is now an NFL coach in Tebow’s hometown.

Tebow kinda-sorta downplayed the idea in a late-week interview with TMZ Sports.

“Obviously, me and Coach are so close and we’ve talked about a lot of different things over the years,” he said. “But for me, I’m super excited about spring training. So that’s where my focus, kind of sports-wise, is right now. But are you kidding me? I loved playing for Coach and will always be supportive of him.”

Did anyone hear a “no way” in there? Meyer, unless he feels Tebow would be a distraction, is likely the only coach who could talk Tebow into that role. 

Reportedly, when the Patriots brought Tebow to preseason camp in 2013, Bill Belichick was considering using Tebow in the Swiss Army Knife manner the Saints have so successfully employed with Hill. But Tebow stubbornly held onto his QB dream, which eventually saw him awaken as a minor-league outfielder.

Unless something clicked over the past 17 months and he’s suddenly capable of consistently putting wood to professional pitching, Tebow and the Mets might be done by the time the Jags’ spring mini-camp is called to order in April. If it’s ever gonna happen, it’ll happen with Urban Meyer and Jacksonville.

Tebow should be well rested, he hasn’t taken a hit in years, and given his off-field reputation, figures to be a very young 33.

And after several decades of watching professional football, I can assure you he’d never have to try hitting a curveball.

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