The Returning Retiree

By DYLAN BRETT, junior

AT ONLY 33 YEARS OLD, Tim Tebow has made himself known in the sports world for having one of the most wild and eventful athletic careers. He began his career as a promising young star quarterback at the University of Florida, where he quickly rose to stardom. In 2007, Tebow took home college football’s highest individual honor, the Heisman Trophy, awarded to the most outstanding player. He then proceeded to win two BCS National Championships with the Gators, who are now widely recognized as one of the strongest programs in college football. Tebow won 48 games in college and lost just seven. He entered the NFL Draft as a highly sought-after prospect and was selected in the first round by the Denver Broncos. Tebow started off on a strong foot early in his professional career, leading Denver to their first playoff win in nearly a decade in 2011. However, despite his on-field performances, Tebow finished with the lowest passing completion rate as a quarterback and was traded to the New York Jets in 2012. He failed to establish himself as a vital player within the Jets and started a streak of short stints across various teams in the league. After bouncing around from team to team over the following months, Tim Tebow ultimately was unable to find a permanent home in professional football and left the NFL by 2015.

After months away from the sports scene, Tebow made a shocking announcement: he would be attempting a career in professional baseball, signing with the New York Mets organization. Tebow played in the minor leagues for 5 years and, despite never making it to the big leagues, put up formidable numbers as a feared power hitter in the double-A league for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies before announcing his retirement in early 2021.

To many, it had looked like Tim Tebow’s days of being a professional athlete were behind him, in both football and baseball. That all changed when the former college coach at the University of Florida, his old friend, Urban Meyer, was brought in as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. For the first time since his football career ended six years prior, Tim Tebow was getting another opportunity with an NFL team. He signed with Jacksonville in May, on a one-year deal. However, confusingly enough, Tebow did not sign with the Jaguars as a quarterback; the team listed Tebow as a tight end––a position he had never played in his life.

Jacksonville’s decision to sign Tebow stirred up massive controversy among NFL fans everywhere, as many questioned Tebow’s role with the team. Would he receive playing time? Is he going to straddle the line between both player and coach? And the biggest question of all, did he deserve this opportunity? Many fans remain upset over the signing of Tim Tebow, as they believe that he did not work for his spot and was handed his position on the team while others more deserving of the job, like Colin Kaepernick, were without a career in the NFL. Many fans, as well as NFL insiders, share the opinion that Tebow was only granted the chance to play for the Jaguars because of his connections with Urban Meyer. Sports fans typically reside inside a bubble, where many believe that those with dedication and talent will eventually succeed. However, this situation reveals some ugly truths that may have always been lurking beneath the s u r f a c e . Analysts h a v e labeled t h e Jaguars organization a “Boys Club,” since this is not the first controversial acquisition that Coach Meyer has made in his tenure. Earlier this year, Meyer hired his personal friend Chris Doyle to be the team’s director of sports performance. This hiring came just months after Doyle was relieved of his duties at the University of Iowa due to a racial bias scandal.

It has also been widely questioned if Tebow would be a good fit in the Jacksonville locker room. Some skeptics believe that Tebow will disrupt the balance of the team’s chemistry. Former NFL quarterback and Tebow’s exteammate Greg McElroy claims that “there are going to be players who are rolling their eyes at the amount of attention the fourth-string, fifth-string tight end gets, and it’s going to piss people off.” The public consensus is that the widespread attention that Tebow receives will have a negative impact on the team’s morale. Adding on to this may be the arising tensions from Tebow picking up his new tight end position.

Overall, Tim Tebow’s return to the gridiron has done exactly what everyone expected: take the national media by storm. For better or for worse, the signing of Tim Tebow to Jacksonville has garnered worldwide attention and placed the Jaguars organization in a major spotlight.

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