After winning two national championships, a Heisman Trophy and earning a first round draft selection, Denver general manager John Elway saw no way of keeping Tim Tebow in mile high. The NFL Hall of Famer shipped The Chosen One to New York practically before the ink was dry on Peyton Manning’s new contract with the Broncos.
Understandably, Florida Gators fans were upset, but they were not the only ones. Tebow’s legions of Christian, pious peoples spans the nation. When Tebow was jetted out to NYC, there were zillions of fans and an absolute media circus waiting for him. Elway say all of that from both close-up and at a distance after trading him away.
“I think Tim Tebow has a lot of fans. You know, and I had to take care of the Denver Broncos.”
Never before had a backup quarterback who was eventually dropped to No. 3 on the depth chart garnered so much national attention.
Never before had a player under so much scrutiny performed, not terribly, but hardly at all.
After leading the Broncos to a playoff victory over the Steelers, Tebow hardly saw the playing field in his first season with the Jets.
But you knew that already. Elway knew that already.
[Related >> We have chronicled the rise (and fall?) of Tim Tebow here]
Which is what makes Elway’s recent statements from his perch in paradise so interesting. In a radio interview with WFAN in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl, Elway made all the easy statements regarding the fact that Tebow “is a good kid” and that “he works his tail off”.
In fact, he even went so far as the say that Tebow can succeed, provided the right opportunity, in the NFL.
“In the right situation, I think it’s a possibility,” the Broncos executive said. “He’s got to be in the right situation.”
Elway then elaborated on a point not too many may have expected: Those unquestioning fans of His Holiness Tim Tebow, those who so badly wanted to see their hometown hero playing in Jacksonville, were not wanted by the man himself.
Elway gave Tebow the choice to go to either Jax or New York — and Tebow himself chose New York.
“You know, we laid it out to Tim. We said ‘It’s up to you,’” Elway said. “I’m not going to tell you which deal I liked better. But I will tell you that we did give him the option.”
Make of this what you will, Jaguars fans.
Tebow rounded out his 2012 season having completed six of eight pass attempts for 39 yards. He also rushed for 102 yards on 32 carries. He is expected to be released if New York cannot find a trade partner for him.