So I had a telephone conversation today with quarterback Tim Tebow.
Ever heard of him?
He reached out, via agent Jimmy Sexton, in response to Tuesday night’s story regarding the incident during the Wonderlic testing at the Scouting Combine. As a league source told us, Tebow said something in the testing room about saying a prayer. And then another player said something in response. And then some of the other players laughed.
But Tebow says it didn’t happen.
“Not one single word of it is true,” Tebow told me.
Tebow has a very genuine and disarming way about him. There’s an innocence and kindness in his voice that conflicts with the image of a highly successful college quarterback, who was arguably one of the best college football players of all time.
He was nevertheless firm and resolute in his denial.
“One of the number one things for me is being someone of character and when I say something people can take it to the bank,” Tebow said. “That story is absolutely not true.”
Tebow then named several of the other players who were in the room, and he invited me to check his version with each of them.
Tebow explained that he said nothing to the group of roughly 100 players, and he said that he spoke only to BYU quarterback Max Hall.
After talking to Tebow, I immediately contacted the source for the story, who agreed with my assessment that Tebow is “the real deal.” But the source didn’t back down.
It’s possible that Tebow made a comment intended for Hall that was overheard by another player, who then made a profane comment in response that was not heard by Tebow. Still, Sexton told me in a follow-up e-mail that Tebow “never said anything remotely close” to what had been attributed to him.
We’ll keep digging on this one. We’re confident that our source didn’t make it up, but we were impressed by Tebow’s willingness to reach out and explain his position. Though I’m usually even more skeptical when someone tells me multiple times in a seven-minute conversation that he always tells the truth, when Tebow said it I believed it.
That said, there has to be a way to harmonize the two stories. Tebow believes he’s telling the truth, and I believe our source. We’ll keep after this one and report back when we have more.