Currently, NFL teams can have up to 90 players on the roster. That’s 2,880 possible jobs.
And Tim Tebow continues to not have one of them.
Last week, Tebow talked about his new gig at ESPN’s SEC Network, making it clear that he hasn’t given up on returning to the NFL. In the Associated Press story regarding Tebow’s unrequited love for the NFL, Panthers coach Ron Rivera supported the idea of Tebow getting a chance to return to the game.
“I’m a big fan of his and he knows it,” Rivera said. “He has always given me fits when I’ve had to coach against him. He’s a playmaker and he plays a different kind of football. All the guy has ever done is win. . . . He’s one of those guys if you were struggling at quarterback, hey, why wouldn’t you give him a shot?”
Of course, the Panthers were struggling at quarterback in the offseason, with Cam Newton having ankle surgery. And the Panthers signed not Tebow but receiver-turned-quarterback-turned-receiver-turned-quarterback Joe Webb.
No one has signed Tebow. In nearly a year since he was released by the Patriots, not one has shown any real interest in the man who took the Broncos to the playoffs and delivered an on-target throw in overtime against the Steelers, allowing receiver Demaryius Thomas to sprint to the end zone for the winning score.
Apart from the distraction that comes from having Tebow on the team, with the media attention and the Tebowmaniacs clamoring for him to have a chance to play, Tebow historically hasn’t been a very good practice player. Which is putting it kindly.
He’s bad in practice. Bad enough at Florida, as the story goes, that the coaching staff would fret about the team’s ability to win on Saturday — until Saturday came and Tebow transformed into a guy who could get it done. Bad enough at Denver that, as a rookie, there was talk he’d move to receiver. Bad enough in 2011 that, before he was bumped ahead of No. 2 quarterback Brady Quinn and given the starting job, Tebow had fallen to No. 4 on the depth chart. Bad enough in New York that former offensive coordinator Tony Sparano didn’t want to put him on the field in game situations. And presumably bad enough in New England that the man who drafted Tebow in Denver, offensive coordinator Josh McDaneils, couldn’t persuade Bill Belichick to keep Tebow around.
And now he’s so bad that the Dolphins, who need camp arms given the injury to backup Matt Moore, have shown no interest in even giving Tebow a workout, opting instead to kick tires on Rex Grossman and other unnamed (for now) options to join a depth chart that includes Pat Devlin and Seth Lobato.
Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald makes the argument that Tebow should get a chance. And for good reason. Tebowmania officially arrived at the NFL level in 2011 at Sun Life Stadium, with Tebow bringing the Broncos back from a 15-0 late-fourth-quarter deficit in a hokey University of Florida national championship reunion game.
While still fewer than three years ago, Tebowmania is dead. It can come back only if he gets a chance to get on the field. Before he can get on the field, he needs to get on a roster. And if that doesn’t happen now, when the rosters are at the largest, it perhaps never will.