Jaguars head Coach Urban Meyer made an appearance on the Chris Collinsworth podcast Tuesday, and seemed to contradict and confirm reports made by NFL Network and ESPN all at the same time… In a snippet released by the show, Urban says the team has not signed former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, and they weren’t sure if they would or not. He also went on to say that they decided they would give him a shot. Were the multiple tryouts the shot he was referencing, or an indication that signing Tim is still more likely than not? There are so many trains of thought in this madness, and to be honest, I haven’t seen one that I can definitively say is not remotely true.
We all know the kind of coach Meyer is. He is cerebral, calculated, and never makes a decision without knowing the effects of that decision to the farthest extent. Is it too crazy to think this in and of itself was a calculated decision? Not at all. Look what this story has done for the Jaguars. For an entire offseason, the whole league, media, fans, and anyone who pays any attention to the NFL were talking about the Jaguars. They brought in Urban Meyer, and Trevor Lawrence was heading to Jacksonville whether anyone liked it or not. Once the pick was made and things started to die down, the team started to slip back into the dark for the time being. Jokes had been made about Tebow finding his way onto the roster after Coach Meyer became neighbors with his former heisman winner, and next thing you know, the jokes were no longer jokes. However, the Jaguars were in the limelight again and the talk of the NFL. No matter where you stand on the move, you cannot argue against the fact that everything done up to this point has kept the team relevant, which as all Jaguars fans know is not something the franchise is familiar with.
People who are outspoken against this have every reason to be. From the outside, it seems to be nothing more than a NFL failure using his privilege to get another shot. Some say he never got a fair chance, but the fact of the matter is Tim Tebow’s first stint in the NFL did not produce a productive career, otherwise he would not be here. His name got him into baseball, and his relationship with Coach Meyer got his foot in the door for his potential return to the NFL. Is he benefitting from the privilege of his relationship with an all time great coach in the sport who now occupies 1 out of 32 jobs at the highest level? Yes he is. Is it any different than any of you reading this who has benefitted from having a parent, family member, or friend in an influential position in any business? No, it’s not. We’ve all been there.
Could it just be a legitimate chance for a guy who came in regardless of age, in great shape, and impressed the coaches he worked out for independent of Urban Meyer? It could be, and who knows, maybe he will turn out to be a great addition. However, we have to look at what history tells us, and history tells us that guys who take a year or two away from the game (let alone 9) don’t have much of a chance to be productive again. He may be in great shape, but he is 33 and the body has its limits. Let’s not forget to mention the speed of the game is much different than it was as it is ever changing and evolving, and he hasn’t taken a hit in years.
What is this really, though? It could be a few different things. To me, first and foremost, it’s a media distraction. One thing you can’t do is let the moment, the pressure, and expectations crush the future of the franchise quarterback you just took #1 overall. Take some of the attention off of him, and put it on someone who has handled it all of his life at every stop in his career. After the first training camp practice, all media eyes will be on Tim, not Trevor. Every reporter will flock to his locker, and he can handle it. It’s also a team building move. He could be a mentor to Trevor. Maybe he’s not a positional mentor. I would have much rather have had Alex Smith come in to mentor Trevor from a quarterback perspective, but Tim can handle the distractions, handle the circus, and handle the negativity. He has shown that time and time again and I can’t stress enough how critical that is to a young player’s development. The stress and expectation of being a franchise quarterback has crumbled careers in the past.
The most likely scenario I have cooked up in my mind is that Tebow has a predetermined role outside of the 53, and he has no shot of making the roster, but this move allows for all of the things I mentioned above. What that role is, I’m not quite sure yet, but outside of a roster spot, I have no problem with Tim Tebow being a part of this organization in just about any role. The bottom line is, there are more deserving and qualified tight ends out there who are still playing football. That is why I can’t see this being anything more than a stunt or calculated path to a predetermined role. However, after a 1-15 season, in your first head coaching gig in the NFL, tasked with protecting and setting up possibly the greatest prospect to come out of college football up to succeed in the most important position in sports, there is no time for stunts.
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