Tebow worked out with CFL coach Marc Trestman [who coached Chris Leak with Montreal -mlm] for two days early this month, and then daily for the past two weeks in Nashville at the D1 Training Center, under the coaching of former NFL quarterback and coach Zeke Bratkowski. Tebow's thrown to tight end Jimmy Graham of Miami and wideout Jordan Shipley from Texas. He's dropped seven pounds (from 245 to 238).
On Friday I spoke to Tebow for the first time, mostly about football, but some about the commercial -- and, specifically, what impact it might have, if any, on his draft prospects. I told him most NFL teams like their rookies to be seen and not heard, and certainly not heard in any politically divisive way. And there isn't a subject in this country that touches more buttons than abortion.
What I heard from Tebow was the voice of a kid with convictions, who doesn't shrink from what he believes -- even if it might hurt his draft prospects.
"That's always going to be a part of who I am, and I won't try to hide it,'' Tebow told me from Nashville, where he was working out with Bratkowski, the former Packer quarterback and longtime NFL assistant coach. "A team that doesn't want that shouldn't take me. Pro-life is very important to me. My mother listened to God late in her pregnancy, and if she had listened to others and terminated me, obviously I wouldn't be here. If others don't have the same belief, it's OK. I understand. But I hope they respect that at least I have the courage to stand up for what I believe in.''
[On Tebow's throwing motion] "I've been training every day since the Sugar Bowl. Every day. And that's one of the things I've been working diligently on. I think the scouts and coaches will see it's something I've improved on.''
[On what Tebow will show to scouts] "I want to show, number one, that I'm a competitor and I'm not afraid for teams to see everything about me. My goal is to find just one team, one out of 32, to believe in me as a quarterback. I'm not just the guy who can play in the spread offense, or throw a jump pass or run the triple option. I'm a football junkie. I study it all the time. I've studied every type of offense -- pro style, West Coast. Just because I haven't played every kind of offense, why can't I? Why can't I run the West Coast? My coaches at Florida didn't just teach us a system. They taught us football. So I want the NFL people to put me through everything. Grind on me, test me. I feel I've worked my whole life to prepare for this.''
[The Peter King Tebow Draft Gambling Pool] Throw $5 in the pool, and pick the team that drafts Tim Tebow. I proposed we do the order of the draft with those living farthest from Gainesville having the first pick, and here it went:
Mike Silver, Yahoo! Sports (Northern California) Jacksonville
Sam Farmer, L.A. Times (Southern California) St. Louis
Albert Breer, Boston Globe (Boston) Buffalo
Peter King, Sports Illustrated (Boston) San Francisco
Jeff Duncan, New Orleans Times-Picayune (New Orleans) Miami
Alex Marvez, Foxsports.com (South Florida) Cleveland
Jeff Darlington, Miami Herald (South Florida) Tampa Bay
Jason Cole, Yahoo! Sports (Gainesville, Fla.) New England
Asked Rick Gosselin, the hugely respected draft/NFL man for the Dallas Morning News who does the best mock draft in our business, for his over/under on the overall pick for Tebow. "Twenty-eight,'' he said. [San Diego currently holds the 28th pick. -mlm]
It seems like King will be on top of the Tebow coverage in his rookie year. Tebow is a compelling story all the way around, as a bust or star.