One of Tim Tebow’s former NFL teammates has criticized the notion that the former Broncos and Jets quarterback could make a successful comeback as a tight end with the Jaguars.
Greg McElroy, Tebow’s teammate in New York in 2012, said the team tried him out at tight end that season. Per McElroy, Tebow — in just his third season in the league — “wasn’t good.”
“(The Jets) tried switching him to tight end, and he wasn’t good,” McElroy recently said on SiriusXM on May 12. “That’s what people don’t acknowledge.”
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Tebow’s one and only NFL target — which came with the Jets and hit him square in the helmet — certainly lends credence to McElroy’s critique. But Jacksonville coach Urban Meyer, who also coached Tebow at Florida, said the former quarterback has impressed the Jags staff with his work ethic and athleticism.
“They come in and they said, ‘Wow. You know, this guy’s ball skills. He’s a great athlete. He looks like he’s 18 years old not … whatever he is, 33,’” Meyer said on May 11. “I said, ‘Guys, you don’t understand. Now, this guy is — he’s the most competitive maniac you’re ever going to talk to. And let’s give it a shot.’ And I have not decided if we’re going to do that or not yet.”
But McElroy rebuked the idea that Tebow’s natural athleticism — he has played in the New York Mets’ minor league system the past several years — could help him earn a roster spot. In particular, McElroy said it would be a mistake to compare him to Saints quarterback Taysom Hill, another quarterback with experience playing offensive positions other than signal-caller.
“Tim ran a 4.8 (40-yard dash), Taysom Hill runs a 4.4,” McElroy said. “They’re just two totally different players. Tim is a good dude and I hope the best for him. But it’s a sideshow, and that’s what it will be come training camp time. And I think it kind of undermines what Urban Meyer is trying to build. Maybe he makes the team, maybe he doesn’t, I don’t know. But it’s going to take away from the task at hand, which is trying to put together the most competitive roster in camp.”
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Indeed, reports from inside the Jaguars’ camp suggest that the entire coaching staff isn’t sold on signing Tebow. McElroy addressed that schism — among coaches and players — as well.
“And I bet you there’s going to be players, as someone who went to training camp with Tim, 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,” McElroy said. “As a result, it’s going to affect locker room chemistry, just like it did for us with the Jets. Not because anyone had any animosity toward Tim, they just have animosity with the coverage Tim receives. So, I think it’s a stupid move.”
That said, there are reasons why Meyer would offer Tebow that chance, even if it doesn’t result in a roster spot for his former quarterback. The move has certainly generated discussions about the Jaguars, who already have their quarterback of the future in the form of No. 1 overall quarterback Trevor Lawrence. And Tebow, a Jacksonville, Fla., native, could be an immediate fan favorite for the Jaguars.
Whether he becomes anything more than a storyline remains to be seen.