ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) The Denver Broncos entered the NFL draft still searching for a quarterback.
Tim Tebow is out of an NFL job. For his fervent followers, it's a match made in, well, heaven.
An online petition asking the Broncos to reunite with Tebow started on Change.org just before Peyton Manning retired and Brock Osweiler bolted to Houston, had more than 5,500 supporters early Thursday, a boost of more than 2,000 after ESPN ran a short item on the bid.
General manager John Elway acquired Mark Sanchez in a trade with the Eagles and visited with Colin Kaepernick, but was unable to persuade him to take a pay cut in 2017 or the San Francisco 49ers to chip in to pay a portion of his 2016 salary to facilitate a trade.
Elway also met with free agent Brian Hoyer and he's expected to select a quarterback in the draft.
Tebowmanics suggest the solution is Tebow, who's now an analyst on the SEC Network.
''Coach Gary Kubiak's offense would thrive with Tebow under center,'' reads the petition. ''He and the legendary John Elway can make this happen. We dont (sic) need a subpar throwaway from some other team, we need an original Bronco who has the fire, desire, and love of the game to play as a Bronco again! As a bonus the Bronco fans would be ecstatic! He just wins, we all know this! (hash)TebowTime''
Tebow hasn't thrown a pass in an NFL game since 2012 with the New York Jets. He was cut by the Patriots in training camp in 2013 and by the Eagles last summer.
Tebowmania burned briefly but brilliantly in 2011 when Tebow led the Broncos to the playoffs, where he beat Pittsburgh with an 80-yard touchdown throw to Demaryius Thomas on the first snap of overtime.
Three months later, Elway signed Manning and traded Tebow, who was as famous for his public displays of faith as he was for his football exploits.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton