Tim Tebow Can Be Great, Just Not in the NFL

Dan Levy@danlevythinksNational Lead WriterApril 29, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 02:  Former Florida Gator and New York Jet Tim Tebow attends the Allstate Sugar Bowl between the Florida Gators and the Louisville Cardinals at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 2, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Last offseason, Tim Tebow was traded out of Denver after leading the Broncos to the playoffs for the first time in more than half a decade. This offseason, after a year-long roller coaster ride with the New York Jets, Tebow has been jettisoned again, reportedly cut three days after the Jets picked Geno Smith in the second round of the NFL draft, according to ESPN New York's Rich Cimini.

Tebow wasn't cut because the Jets drafted Smith; he was cut because he isn't good enough to be an NFL quarterback. He wasn't good enough to play for one of the worst teams in football.

Tebow is a great person, and he can use that to inspire others. Just not on an NFL field anymore.

Let's repeat that so it sinks in for the people who still think Tebow has some NFL value: He is a great person, and he has the ability to use his celebrity and esteem for incredible things, but he simply isn't good enough to play in the NFL.

He had a magical run in Denver (thanks mostly to the Broncos defense), and that got him sent to the NFL's worst possible quarterback situation where he couldn't even get on the field.

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The Jets were an absolute circus, and Tebow, it seems, no longer fits in the clown car.

Now, with Tebow on the free-agent market, the question other teams will be answering is if they think he's good enough to play NFL football at all. Some people—like noted Tebow fan and recent apologist Dan Shanoff of USA Today—think he will find another place to play. (Shanoff thinks the Patriots make sense for Tebow.)

That doesn't make sense. It does not make sense for any team, especially the Patriots, to sign Tebow.

Bill Belichick has made a Hall of Fame career out of finding hard-nosed players he plugs into different spots to find the most out of in an effort to win championships as a team.

Sure, Belichick also has Tom Brady, but his quarterback has been the only true star during the Patriots' illustrious run over the last decade-and-a-half. Belichick has brought in some big-name players to join his ranks, but only where he sees talent his roster doesn't currently have.

Randy Moss made sense because he still had talent. Tebow would bring a traveling circus with him twice the size of Moss, with nowhere close to the return on the field.

Why would Belichick bring in Tebow to play H-back when he has never proven in his time in the pros or college that he can be a star at that position? If he could play that role for a team, why wouldn't the Jets have tried it when it was clear he wasn't going to play quarterback?

One reason it makes sense for the Patriots to look at Tebow would be to get a glance at the Jets' playbook, but even that doesn't make Tebow valuable enough to justify the signing.

So who else would be willing to take the risk of signing Tebow, without any guarantee of reward?

Jacksonville? They had the chance to trade for him last season and seemed to give a rather half-hearted effort before losing out out to the Jets. With a new regime that's trying to actually build a winning football franchise (and not an NFL sideshow), Tebow would make terrible sense for the Jags.

To completely belabor the point, Tebow has shown—both in Denver and New York—he cannot be a traditional NFL quarterback, and there is far too much risk for a coach to bring in Tebow and change his entire offense around the guy. It worked in Denver because of the parts around him, and necessity dictated the switch. To go into a season planning that is insane. No team will be willing to do that, especially after the disaster in New York.

If Tebow can't be an NFL quarterback and hasn't proven to be a viable candidate at H-back—though to be fair, he hasn't had much time at the position—what else is there? Kicker? Long snapper?

He could be a long snapper, if he can snap. He could be a kicker, if he can kick. He could be a fullback, if he can block or run on the goal line. Maybe he could be a gunner on special teams, if he can tackle.

Maybe he could be anything, but is it worth it to bring in the guy just to have him sit on the bench, collect all the media's attention and then get cut after a year? 

The bigger question in this should be whether it makes sense for Tebow to even try to stay in the NFL.

For what reason should he stay in the NFL at this point—to be an H-back or a backup fullback for the Patriots? To be a long snapper or a gunner on punt coverage? To prove he can still do it?

What good does it do Tebow to stay in the NFL?

Sure, he could convince himself it was the wrong fit in New York. Maybe it was. But it wasn't the right fit in Denver after it changed its entire offense to fit him. 

There is no right fit, so why should Tebow try to hang on in the league and further sully his image?

That's what this is about, really. Tebow still has a pristine image in and out of sports. He was possibly the greatest college football player of all time and lives a very public and spiritual life that has inspired millions upon millions of people. He has a future in politics if he wants it, and clearly he has already become a coveted public speaker.

The NFL may actually be holding Tebow back from his true calling.

Chasing the fleeting dream of maintaining an NFL career can only serve to tarnish what he's best at doing: inspiring other people to be great. 

Tebow was great at football at the collegiate level. He's not great in the NFL, but that doesn't mean he's not great at other things.

So go be great; it certainly beats being a benchwarmer with New England or Jacksonville or whatever team needs a bump in jersey sales this year. It also beats getting cut again next offseason, which is exactly what will happen if any team takes a chance and signs him.