Despite what you may have heard in some overwrought analysis, Tim Tebow’s NFL “resurrection” has nothing to do with Colin Kapernick’s NFL “banishment.” Both are facts of NFL life to be sure, but the connection between them is, frankly, nil.
Since newly crowned Jacksonville Jaguars’ coach Urban Meyer flexed his organizational muscle and granted Tebow a tryout at tight end nine years since he last played in an NFL game, some have tried to argue Tebow, like Kaepernick, got something he didn’t deserve. They insist Tebow got an unfair break from his former college coach while Kapernick has been blackballed by all 32 NFL teams for doing the same thing Tebow got famous for – taking a knee before games.
Now it’s true, Tebow took his in prayer while Kaepernick took his in protest, but it’s also true that Kaepernick is a better NFL quarterback than Tebow is likely to be an NFL tight end. What does one have to do with the other?
Nothing … but it makes for good talk-show arguments, I guess. Meyer’s decision to hand the 33-year-old Tebow one of the Jaguars’ 90 training-camp roster spots is hardly worth the kind of “agita” it seems to have engendered.
Certainly Tebow has been a lightning rod around the NFL since then-Broncos’ head coach Josh McDaniels unwisely traded up to draft him in the first round in 2010. Despite his success as a college quarterback under Meyer at Florida, Tebow was always a long-shot to make it because he was an inaccurate passer and a guy who ran more like Bronko Nagurski than Lamar Jackson. Add to that his very public religious views, and you have the kind of guy who brings a lot of baggage but limited skills.
Tebow last played in an NFL game nine years ago and failed in his efforts to play quarterback with the Broncos, Jets, Patriots and Eagles. He also failed in a game effort to make it in major-league baseball with the Mets, but clearly still has the drive and the dream to be a professional athlete and is willing to put in the work and face the criticism he knew was likely if he accepted Meyer’s offer.
So what’s the harm in that?
And what does it have to do with Colin Kaepernick’s situations?
Nothing applies to both questions.
What has been done to Kaepernick is shameful and a black eye on the NFL. He was not only within his rights to take a knee during the National Anthem to protest what he perceived to be widespread police brutality against persons of color but was also right, as events have proven since.
However, it also appears to be true that he no longer wants to play in the NFL, at least not to the degree Tebow does because Tebow is clearly willing to grasp at any straw for one more chance while Kaepernick has moved on to more important endeavors in life with his political activism (plus an occasional Nike ad bonanza).
Many have asked what Tebow brings to the table as a 33-year-old guy trying to make the NFL at a position he not only never played but once refused to even try when the Jets suggested it nine years ago. The answer is nothing until proven otherwise. But, if you’re honest, the same could be said for 10 or 15 of those 90 guys lingering at the bottom of NFL pre-season rosters round the league.
Nearly half of those players will not ever make it onto a regular season NFL roster. Tebow is likely to be one of those who doesn’t. But what does it hurt to let him try?
He’s not in Jacksonville as a gimmick to sell tickets, the way he was when the Mets signed him to a minor-league baseball contract. Ticket selling in Jacksonville has been a success since the arrival of, first, Meyer, a Florida coaching legend for his two national championship victories with Tebow at quarterback, and No. 1 overall draft pick Trevor Lawrence. Since their arrival, season-ticket deposits have grown by eight times what they were two years ago. None of those tickets were purchased because Tim Tebow is going to try and convert himself into a tight end.
I hesitate to give any coach much credit on the morality ledger, but in this case the decision to sign Tebow was very likely a case of Meyer giving a break to a guy he realizes helped make him the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Urban Meyer won two national championships at Florida because Tim Tebow played great for him at quarterback. Urban Meyer moved on to a massive contract at Ohio State because he won two national championships at Florida in large part because Tim Tebow played great for him at quarterback. At Ohio State he won a third national championship with no help from Tebow, but he has to have at least enough self-awareness to realize much of the reason he is in the position he is today is because Tim Tebow played so well for him in college. And so Meyer did Tebow a solid, offering him a last chance to live out his lifelong dream of making a living in the NFL. What’s the crime in that?
There is none.
Just as there is no relationship between the signing of Tim Tebow by an old friend and the ostracizing of Colin Kaepernick by the entire National Football League. You can argue both are ridiculous situations, and you’d be right. But the NFL is rife with ridiculous situations, as are all professional sports. What is equally ridiculous, though, is the argument that the Jags are wasting a roster spot on Tebow. How do we know that?
Urban Meyer decided to give someone who was once a great all-around athlete an outside chance to prove he still is, and Tim Tebow decided he’ll take the risk of proving his critics right to take that chance.
If you have a problem with that, then the problem is you.