Fans collide over Tim Tebow signing with the Jags

John Watson, Sports Editor

A man who has led a fascinating professional sports journey has ended up as the newest member of the Jacksonville Jaguars. From throwing dimes as a member of the Denver Broncos to hitting dingers with the St. Lucie Mets, Tim Tebow is no ordinary athlete.

While some believe his newest move brings fun back to football, others shed light on the NFL’s historical problems.

Tebow is no stranger to head coach Urban Meyer’s fiery coaching style. Spending years together at the University of Florida and playing together to win a national championship, the two know what it takes to win. However, this is the NFL, and Tebow isn’t a quarterback anymore, and Urban Meyer can’t take his recruits out for dinner with their parents. 33-year-old Tebow and his new coach have much to prove.

 Tebow is looking to make his return to the NFL after last being seen in training camp with the Eagles in 2015 (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Things have looked good so far as Tebow attended workouts at the tight end position in Jacksonville with some of the Jaguar’s new coaching staff. There has been high praise of his ball skills and athleticism as Meyer called him a ‘competitive maniac’ on the Chris Collinsworth podcast. The Jaguars have struggled in recent years to fill the tight end position, and 6′ 3″, 255 lbs Tebow seems to be showing signs of someone who could make an impact on and off the field.

Supporters of Tebow have referenced his strong work ethic, good off-field behavior, and passion for the game as their reasons for backing. On the other hand, the NFL and Urban Meyer have come under fire for hiring a washed-up player who has never played tight end instead of giving opportunities to players like Collin Kaepernick. 

One supporter of Tebow’s future career in the NFL is Florida senator Marco Rubio who tweeted:

Tim Tebow sure does stir up a lot of scorn & mockery for someone who has never been accused of wrongdoing, treats everyone with respect & organizes a high school prom every year for kids with special needs.””

— - @Marcorubio

Ex-NFL player Brandon Spikes, who was on the same team as Tebow at UF, supports the move, citing the relationship between Meyer and Tebow as the significant factor in the partnership. He added on Twitter: “His college coach is now the head coach of the only team to give him a tryout. His coach knows he is a hard-working and team-oriented athlete that would be happy to play a role. Why are y’all still confused?”

Other former NFL players like Chris Cooley have shown support for Tebow and his new opportunity, but others don’t share the same support for Tebow, like Spikes or Rubio. One part of criticism comes after Tebow’s tight end ability and his qualifications for filling a highly competitive position in the NFL. One writer for Slate.com said: “If Tebow is a son to the Meyer, then Urban Meyer is hiring an unqualified family member to try a difficult and competitive job.” He then references this video from Tebow’s years with the New York Jets.

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Not only is Tebow being criticized, but Meyer has also been brought a lot of heat for this recent acquisition and bringing his college ways into the NFL. Meyer had been under fire for hiring Chris Doyle, who had a history of racism and mistreatment as a strength and conditioning coach at Iowa. With the hire and consequent resignation of Doyle, Meyer was starting to show signs of his old self at UF and Ohio State when he would work himself into health problems and misery. 

The other recent criticism has stemmed from people seeing Tebow come back to the league and questioning why Collin Kaepernick has not been given another opportunity. Steelers linebacker Devin Bush stated that competitor vs. competitor Kaepernick should have been given a chance before Tebow. Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson even went on to call the move B.S. and, while referring to who gets second-chances in the league, said: “That’s how the NFL is. It’s different for us.”

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback hasn’t stepped on the field since opting out of his contract after the 2016 season when he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality. On the other hand, Tebow has been away from football for long as his last regular-season action came in 2012. 

Whether or not Tim Tebow deserves another shot in the NFL will be questioned for the next few weeks as Tebow is likely to sign with the team soon. His return to the NFL will be on the lookout as training camp will be make-or-break for the ex-QB.

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