Tim Tebow has limited options and needs to do whatever it takes to get a job back in the National Football League, even if it means playing in the Arena Football League.
Since getting released by the New York Jets in late April, the former Heisman Trophy winner has yet to strike a deal with another team. The NFL draft has come and gone, and teams seem pretty much set with the quarterbacks they currently have.
Tebow was a mobile quarterback back in college and has nearly 1,000 yards on the ground through 35 NFL games. But if a team truly believed that he could make an impact as a running back or a fullback—and he were willing to change positions—he’d have a contract right now.
Instead of waiting in the unemployment line, Tebow needs to generate interest in his abilities on the field. In reality, he has two options: He can continue to hope that a job opens up in the NFL, or he can go play for another league. The latter seems more likely at this point in the offseason, but it’s unclear what Tebow’s immediate plans are.
Marc Sessler of NFL.com recently helped clean up a bit of confusion over a report from David Fleming of ESPN stating that a member of Tebow’s camp said that his NFL career was over. According to Sessler’s colleague Ian Rapoport, the left-hander isn’t calling it quits just yet, or at least his father suggested as much:
Whether Tebow is or isn’t done in the NFL for good doesn’t really matter right now. Now is a time where Tebow must take advantage of the opportunity to play football. He can’t just sit at home and wait for a team to call him. If he doesn’t prove that he can play at a somewhat high level, he’ll never make a return to the NFL.
Former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie recently suggested that Tebow take his talents to the Canadian Football League, where the former Boston College standout played from 1990 through 1997, according to Tadd Haislop of the Sporting News:
“I think he would develop the passing game,” Flutie said. “If you play in the CFL as a quarterback you better be able to throw the football because it’s a wider field. You can’t rely on pure athleticism. He still has to develop. He may have to go somewhere to try and prove that.”
Whether that "somewhere" turns out to be the CFL remains to be seen, but there is an offer out on the table for Tebow to play football. That’s with the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League, which is partly owned by ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski:
“I know Tim’s in a funk right now,” Jaworski said. “But I think he’s got to have a career path. What’s he going to do to get back?
“You’ve got to learn to get rid of the football, quick. You’ve got to process information, quick," he said. "If those are challenges Tim has, that’s it. If you get reps and you’re dropping back 40-45 times, with people in your face, you get better. He needs to play. He needs to be on the field.”
Jaworski couldn’t be more correct in saying that unless Tebow plays, he’s never going to get any better. If he doesn’t get any better, it seems more than unlikely that he ever makes it back to the NFL. If that’s what Tebow wants, he needs to take Jaworski's advice and especially Flutie's—in terms of playing, not necessarily a gig in the CFL.
After playing poorly in his first few years of the NFL, Flutie signed to play in Canada to try to turn his career around. It took some time, but Flutie was very successful north of the border and eventually made his was back, signing with the Buffalo Bills in 1998.
A similar path may be Tebow’s one and only shot at ever taking the field in the NFL again. He’s a smart guy, but he needs to swallow his pride, sign a deal elsewhere and do his best to show NFL teams that they made a mistake not signing him this offseason.
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