Tim Tebow's Lack of Opportunities After League Injuries Foreshadows NFL Future
St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford is out for the year, per of USA Today, while Philadelphia's Nick Foles and Chicago's Jay Cutler were also hit by the injury bug, with the former set to return soon and the latter out at least four weeks.
Yet Tim Tebow didn't hear his phone ring.
Instead, Chicago turned to backup Josh McCown and Philadelphia will go with other pseudo starter Michael Vick.
St. Louis was the team to watch for those with Tebow on the mind, as early speculation had the two sides as a perfect marriage, but CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jim Thomas shot down the notion:
The Rams have no desire to bring in Tim Tebow. Are not mulling it. Jeff Fisher would not consider it.— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) October 21, 2013
Contrary to speculation, Tim Tebow is not coming to St. Louis.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) October 21, 2013
So the Rams contacted 44-year-old Brett Favre's agent, but Tim Tebow still can't get an NFL job? That says it all right there, folks.— Timothy Rapp (@TRappaRT) October 24, 2013
So what's the problem with Tebow? What is keeping a 26-year-old quarterback with untapped potential from even a third-string job like the one in St. Louis?
It's a two-part answer. For one, NFL teams simply do not want to deal with the cult-like following Tebow takes with him no matter where he goes. AFC and NFC executives were not shy in telling Yahoo! Sports' Michael Silver some reasoning as to why Tebow could not find an NFL home:
"He seems like a great guy to have on a team, and I'd be tempted to bring him in as our backup," one NFC head coach told me Wednesday. "But it's just not worth dealing with all the stuff that comes with it."
Or, in the words of one AFC head coach to whom I spoke recently: "You don't want to put up with the circus."
Those quotes were obtained before the New England Patriots took their chance on Tebowmania and his following. Even the Patriots non-contact practices were more crowded than usual before Tebow eventually fizzled on the field in the preseason with horrific passes such as this:
Which brings us to the next point—Tebow has much work to do on the field.
Tebow had seemingly one last shot in New England to show some form of positive progression, whether it was throwing mechanics, footwork, the mental aspect—something. The chance was even given by Patriots offense coordinator Josh McDaniels—who originally brought Tebow into the league in the first round years ago.
Will Tim Tebow play in the NFL again?
Tebow failed. The relentless positive attitude in a league seemingly highlighted by illegal hits and fines simply is not enough if the on-field production isn't there.
Yes, Tebow led a team to a playoff victory, but it's a different league now. Much like the Wildcat, the NFL has mostly adapted to the read option, and frankly, Robert Griffin III and other names execute it much better because of a decisive factor—they're a threat with their arms defenses must respect.
Roster spots in today's NFL are a rare commodity, and most teams only keep two quarterbacks now to allow more room for defensive backs in a pass-happy league. That's 32 chances Tebow had—with an elusive third mixed in like the one in St. Louis—that he's failed to earn.
Simply put, Tebow is not the man teams want under center should the starter go down. He's not the man teams want in the facility because of his extreme following—regardless of a massive upswing in jersey and merchandise sales.
The play on the field is Tebow's fault, the following not so much. Tebow can fix one, but since entering the league in 2010 he's failed to do so.
In a league with the most important position of all barraged with injuries, Tebow has yet to garner even a backup job. That, more than anything else, truly speaks volumes about how the NFL feels about Tebow, as well as his NFL future.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling
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