Tim Tebow is returning to the gridiron. The former first-round pick has signed a one-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Tebow will join his former coach from The University of Florida, Urban Meyer. This will be Coach Meyer’s inaugural year as head coach in Jacksonville.
The quarterback will be switching roles with his reportedly new team, as Meyer wants to bring Tebow on as a tight end. He recently worked out with the Jaguars days before the 2021 draft in the tight end position.
Tebow was drafted by the Denver Broncos, spending two seasons in the Rocky Mountains before getting replaced by Payton Manning.
The Heisman winner spent one season with the New York Jets, followed by a couple of offseason stints with the Patriots and Eagles before the league gave up on him.
Continuing his journey, Tebow spent the last five years with the New York Mets in their minor-league system. The football-turned-baseball pro hung up his cleats this February.
Now Tebow wants to put his football cleats on once again. There are different angles – good and bad – that you can choose to look at with this reported move.
Connections Are Everything
If there is one thing that has proven to be true time and time again in the sports and business worlds, it’s that your journey to success is a lot about who you know.
Tim Tebow proves this.
There are a handful of athletes who have successfully switched from one professional sport to another. Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders are prime examples of those who pulled it off in elite fashion.
Whether you consider either Tebow’s football or baseball career successful is subjective, but he undoubtedly is using his network as he should.
It’s difficult to think that Tebow would have gotten another shot in the league without his connection to Urban Meyer, especially in a new position.
Tebow has not played in a regular-season NFL game since 2012. It’s a long shot to assume he’s going to make the 53-man roster.
But even with the small sliver of a chance, he’ll get added to the active squad, the connection this quarterback-turned-tight-end is a prime example of “knowing the right people.”
Guys all around the league, however, don’t agree with this move.
Carolina Panthers’ defensive tackle, DaQuan Jones, took to Twitter to express his dissatisfaction to this news, saying that your talent doesn’t mean a thing, so long as you know the right people.
However, the backlash both Meyer and Tebow are receiving for this potential contract is not unwarranted.
What Kind Of Message Is This Sending?
There are many.
The NFL learned nine years ago that Tim Tebow struggled to play professional football.
His throwing mechanics were awkward. His passing technique was inconsistent. He fell apart with a spread offense.
He is athletically gifted, that is a given, but he never stood out in the NFL for being a superior athlete. His rise to celebrity-level fame came after his time in the NFL with book releases, documentaries, and a job with ESPN as a college football analyst.
When faced with the reality that the quarterback position was not meant for him in the big leagues, Tebow was asked to potentially switch to the tight end spot and he refused.
What makes Tebow think he can play tight end now, nine years later?
Tebow has come out saying he owes his success in the NFL to Urban Meyer–a man that he cares for deeply.
Typically, if you care for someone you want to see them succeed.
So it’s an interesting move to consider because potentially starting Tebow in the tight end position will do anything but help Meyer succeed, despite what the fresh Jaguars’ coach says of what he saw in Tebow during the workouts.
The Jaguars tanked enough in previous seasons to score the number one overall draft pick this season, snagging Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The spotlight is pointed at the extremely gifted rookie QB and the talent that surrounds him.
Kim’s Stance on Tim Tebow Back in the NFL
You can talk about the roster spots he is taking from young free-agent tight ends that didn’t fare well in the draft.
You can talk about the probability of him not making the 53-man roster, that he is just going to flop in training camp.
Urban Meyer is new to the Jaguars’ front office and locker room. He is new to the NFL. And coming out of coaching retirement, he may be new to a lot of different things.
The fact is that bringing on a tight end who hasn’t seen the turf in nine years simply because you coached him in college over a decade ago ruins your credibility before you could even start to build it.
This is the second controversial move that Meyer has made in his short time as head honcho in Jacksonville, hiring former Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, despite being accused of making racist remarks to former players.
Doyle resigned just days after the announcement due to the backlash received.
The Tebow Effect may have the same outcome, but one thing has proven to be true: Meyer has complete control over who he brings into the locker room.
If signing Tebow falls through just as bringing on coach Doyle did, maybe this could show Jacksonville that they need to keep their new, power-hungry coach within arm’s reach.
A SportsEpreneur’s Takeaway on Tim Tebow Back in the NFL
What would a SportsEpreneur say about this? by Eric Kasimov (connect on Twitter)
This signing is about culture, opportunity, and friendship. Could the signing backfire? Sure. Could people call this a form of nepotism? Yes. Could Urban Meyer lose trust because other players think this opportunity for a roster spot should go to what they consider a more deserving player? Of course.
But you know what, Urban Meyer doesn’t care. He is not in the people-pleasing business. If Urban Meyer always did what others wanted and expected, he wouldn’t be considered one of the best coaches in football, period.
Urban went to Jacksonville because he obviously still has that coaching itch, because the Jaguars met his money demands, and because they gave him the power — the power to do it his way.
Tim Tebow is simply Urban’s guy. Their relationship is obvious. And here’s the thing — maybe Urban wants Tebow around him. Maybe he needs some uplifting words from time to time. Maybe he thinks that if Tebow rubs off on some other players that will be a good thing for the future of the Jaguars. Maybe Urban thinks Tebow has a real chance to be good at tight end. I don’t know. No one does. But Urban is in charge. And people will for sure hate on him and question him. But that won’t stop him.
What I think is Tebow is there because Urban knows the influence Tebow has on a team and himself. And he quite simply wants that around him. And with that, who knows, maybe the guy is ready to be a great tight end.
It can’t be argued that culture matters in sports. And if anyone knows that, a successful head coach with a psychology background does.
If nothing else, people are now paying a little bit of attention to the Jaguars. But this is a culture play. Culture matters. For the Jaguars, in the NFL, and in your business.
Want to learn more about how much culture matters in football? Listen to this podcast episode with Urban Meyer’s own coach, Tim Kight.
A podcast on the business of the NFL with AJ Vaynerchuk and Michael Lombardi.
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