Tim Tebow would join Doug Flutie with record nine-year gap between NFL games

Buffalo quarterback Doug Flutie prepares to throw
Getty Images

In the unlikely event that Tim Tebow actually plays for the Jaguars this season, he’ll return to the field nine years after playing his last NFL game. In doing so, he’d be doing something not seen since Doug Flutie.

Flutie was drafted in 1985, played one year in the USFL and then played for the Bears and Patriots before leaving the NFL in 1989. He then embarked on an eight-year career in the CFL before returning to the NFL with the Bills in 1998, nine years after he had last played in the NFL.

According to NFL Network, no one else in the Super Bowl era has gone nine years between playing in NFL games with the exception of two players who did it thanks to the 1987 players’ strike, when NFL owners hired replacement players. Two players did it then: Tony Adams, who had last played in the NFL in 1978 with the Chiefs, returned as a replacement player with the 1987 Vikings. And David Diaz-Infante played on the 1987 replacement Chargers before bouncing around the football world in a couple of minor leagues, then returned to the NFL with the 1996 Broncos.

Tebow is very different from Flutie, who spent his intervening nine years actually playing football at a high level, albeit in a different league. And there is no players’ strike this year. So what the Jaguars are giving Tebow a chance to do is basically unprecedented in NFL history.

15 responses to “Tim Tebow would join Doug Flutie with record nine-year gap between NFL games

  1. I wouldn’t say this is unprecedented. Every year we see teams in MLB bringing in celebrities and sideshows who have no right playing for spring training to boost ticket sales and this is no different.

  2. It’s probably the only sentence in which you could bundle the names Flutie and Tebow because when it comes to actual talent, there is no comparison. Flutie was tremendous. Should have had a 15 year NFL career but he came along at the wrong time in history with his size and skill set.

  3. Doug Flutie was awesome and completely mismanaged by the Bills.
    Tim Tebow was not awesome and is completely being mismanaged by the Jags.

  4. Let’s please dispense with the “why is there so much hatred for Tim Tebow?” comments. Especially the totally facetious claims that Tebow is being hated on because of expressing his religious faith.

    There is not a single national media member who expressed any ill will toward Tebow. No one has stated anything negative about Tebow being a Christian. Quite to the contrary, Tebow is universally praised for being a person of good character and for his good works.

  5. All this Tebow noise (good or bad) helps fill the electronic white space about the NFL during the no games played period.

  6. Flutie you can say was mismanaged through his career, and you’d be correct. I’d say, at least in this particular instance, Tebow is being managed perfectly. We all know it’s about generating hype for a team that has little to none going for it.

  7. Sunday Swami says:
    May 22, 2021 at 7:44 am
    I wouldn’t say this is unprecedented. Every year we see teams in MLB bringing in celebrities and sideshows who have no right playing for spring training to boost ticket sales and this is no different.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________-
    Did you see who the Jags put on the field last season in their TE group? The person who mixes the gatorade for the Jags should try out at that position.

  8. Some see Tebow as a joke, Urban Meyer sees him differently. Meyer coached him at Florida and used Tebow’s skill set and leadership to win 2 National Championships. Tebow had 88 Passing TDs and 57 Rushing TDs in his Gator career under Meyer. Tebow is one of the All Time greats of college football. Meyer sees that guy and believes he knows how to use his skill set to help the team win.
    Will it work in the NFL ? We’ll see

  9. Meyer coached him at Florida and used Tebow’s skill set and leadership to win 2 National Championships. Tebow had 88 Passing TDs and 57 Rushing TDs in his Gator career under Meyer.

    —-
    You’re right. He was good at that level. As it was for a lot of guys. Then, he was given every opportunity at the NFL level, with a long list of teams and professional evaluators. Then it was determined that D1 college was his ceiling. That was 9 years ago.

  10. diaperhelmet says:
    May 22, 2021 at 8:27 am
    Doug Flutie was awesome and completely mismanaged by the Bills.
    Tim Tebow was not awesome and is completely being mismanaged by the Jags.

    Pretty sure you have this backwards. Flutie was trash. Tebow at least won a playoff game with the Broncos. Elway just didn’t like his style and Peyton Manning became available. Tebow may not have been the prettiest thrower, but the guy was a winner. Flutie was not and is not awesome.

  11. Didn’t Flutie play professional football the whole time he was not in the NFL? Not a fair comparison.

  12. Christopher Allan says:

    May 22, 2021 at 9:12 am

    Sunday Swami says:
    May 22, 2021 at 7:44 am
    I wouldn’t say this is unprecedented. Every year we see teams in MLB bringing in celebrities and sideshows who have no right playing for spring training to boost ticket sales and this is no different.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________-
    Did you see who the Jags put on the field last season in their TE group? The person who mixes the gatorade for the Jags should try out at that position.
    ——-
    Yes I did and O’Shaughnessy unlike Tebow isn’t a sideshow to sell tix. There are plenty of tight ends on the market way more qualified than Tebow with a higher ceiling as well as a higher floor than Tebow but their not the sideshow that would make money so they weren’t brought in. Also if the waterboy tried out it would be seen as a publicity stunt and a sideshow so yes that’s an apt comparison to Tebow but it doesn’t work the way you want because you like everyone would call it a circus if the waterboy tried out which is the same circus the jags are trying to create with tebow at te.

  13. How many basketball players with NO NFL or even football experience played in the NFL? Didn’t a couple become all pros and even one a HOFer? An athletic former NFL QB and Heisman winning college player who many wanted to make a TE when he entered the league has no chance now? If he is in shape (which by all accounts he is) I don’t see why so many think this is such a long shot.
    Not only will Tebow make the team, he will start and put up respectable numbers. Then all the haters will be jumping on his bandwagon. Laugh now, Tebow will be laughing later. …and I’m not even a fan of his.

  14. sponz says:

    May 22, 2021 at 1:25 pm

    How many basketball players with NO NFL or even football experience played in the NFL? Didn’t a couple become all pros and even one a HOFer? An athletic former NFL QB and Heisman winning college player who many wanted to make a TE when he entered the league has no chance now? If he is in shape (which by all accounts he is) I don’t see why so many think this is such a long shot.
    Not only will Tebow make the team, he will start and put up respectable numbers. Then all the haters will be jumping on his bandwagon. Laugh now, Tebow will be laughing later. …and I’m not even a fan of his.

    ———
    1st do you not realize the same athleticism you display at 23 you likely dont display at 33? 2nd learning a new position at 23 is a lot different than 33 because you have time to learn and grow. 3rd considering Tebow and his homer fans shot down the idea of him being a tight end when he entered the league its disingenuous to try and use that as reasoning in favor now.

  15. The Flutie comparison might work if Tebow had played in the CFL, but he he didn’t. No CFL team contacted him and he didn’t contact anyone in Canada. Montreal said he would have been a backup in the CFL.

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