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Tim Tebow Must Work on Positional Flexibility to Earn NFL Job

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 23: Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Jets leaves the field after loss to San Diego Chargers at MetLife Stadium on December 23, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky /Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistMay 22, 2013

Since getting waived by the New York Jets after just one season with the team last month, quarterback Tim Tebow has been a popular topic of conversation. No teams have shown serious interest in signing him thus far, so the much-maligned quarterback needs to prove that he can play multiple positions.

While the Jets attempted to use Tebow in a number of different roles last season, they failed miserably in their utilization of him. Tebow was largely New York's Wildcat quarterback, but he was also placed at slot receiver and tight end on a few occasions while serving as the team's personal punt protector as well.

Tebow was never anything more than a gimmick for the Jets, though, and his presence was a total distraction. New York's quarterback situation was an absolute mess, as Mark Sanchez had an awful season while head coach Rex Ryan refused to make Tebow the starting signal-caller. Instead, he often came in to break Sanchez's rhythm, which made the Jets offense even worse.

Clearly New York was the wrong place for Tebow to be, but that doesn't mean that he can't contribute to other teams in the league. Tebow is an incredible athlete with a great deal of strength. At 6'3" and 236 pounds, he has the frame necessary to play a number of different positions, including quarterback, running back, fullback, H-back, wide receiver and tight end.

Tebow obviously can't just start playing those positions and automatically become good at them, but his work ethic may be his biggest strength. Even if he wants to exclusively be a quarterback deep down, he has to see the writing on the wall. Teams either don't want to deal with the distraction or aren't impressed with his skill set, so he has to diversify.

There have been countless successful players over the course of NFL history who have played multiple positions. The one whom Tebow should try to emulate is former Pittsburgh Steelers star Kordell Stewart. While Stewart came into the league as a quarterback, the Steelers used him as a wide receiver and running back early in his career in order to get him on the field.

Stewart was nicknamed "Slash," and he was extremely effective in that role. After a couple years of that, he eventually became a regular quarterback again and had some solid years in Pittsburgh.

Tebow should look at Stewart's career and understand that if he simply does whatever it takes to get on a team, another quarterbacking opportunity could open up down the line.

If Tebow can become adept at blocking, pass catching and running the ball from out of the backfield, there are probably some teams that will give him a look. Versatility is so important in the NFL today because a limited amount of players can be dressed on game day. If a guy can fill multiple roles, then he automatically becomes that much more valuable.

Tebow also needs to make sure that he goes to a team with a well-established quarterback already in place, provided multiple suitors eventually come forward. It's understandable why he might want to go to a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars since they have very little depth or talent at quarterback, but playing for a team with a great quarterback already in place will take the pressure off of his shoulders.

There won't be legions of fans calling for him to be the starting quarterback, and that is a good thing, because Tebow needs to focus on being an all-around football player rather than just a quarterback at this point. If he excels in his new role for a couple of seasons, another opportunity could eventually open up for him.

With the way that the spread option is taking the NFL by storm, Tebow should be a much more attractive quarterback right now than he is. It stands to reason that the spread option will become even more popular over the next few seasons, though, so it wouldn't be wise to shut the book on Tebow as a quarterback forever.

Remaining in the NFL in any capacity is a much better option for Tebow right now than playing quarterback in a low-level league. He has received a number of contract offers from teams in various leagues, such as the Champions Professional Indoor Football League's Omaha Beef, the Indoor Football League's Texas Revolution and the Arena Football League's Philadelphia Soul.

It's highly doubtful that NFL teams would be keeping tabs on those leagues, however, so it would behoove Tebow to remain in the NFL at all costs. Perhaps all of the media coverage surrounding him will scare teams off regardless, but there is no doubt that broadening his horizons will help him in the long run.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter

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