Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 3/20/12
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Tim Tebow to the Packers? The prospect of combining one of the most popular and polarizing players in NFL history with one of the nation's iconic sports franchises is sure to generate plenty of discussion, and that's exactly what two of ESPN's top NFL reporters have done by saying Green Bay is among the teams that might have interest in Tebow now that the Denver Broncos seem ready to put him on the trade market. There's just one problem with that speculation: It's not that Tim Tebow wouldn't fit as a Packer, it's that TebowMania wouldn't fit with the Packers. Green Bay's front office and coaching staff are a no-nonsense bunch, and that starts at the top with general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy. And though Tebow is about as far from a troublemaker or negative distraction as exists in professional sports, the circus that surrounds him is exactly the type of thing Thompson and McCarthy try to avoid. Though it would be ridiculous to think Packers starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers would be subjected to the same treatment from Packers fans that Kyle Orton received in Denver -- when the Mile-High masses viewed Orton as in Tebow's path to greatness the media attention that has followed Tebow to this point in his career wouldn't necessarily be welcome in one of the league's most buttoned-down environments. So why the Tebow-to-Green Bay link? Well, back in 2010 -- when Tebowing was not yet something high school students got suspended for doing in hallways McCarthy had high praise for the 2007 Heisman winner. This quote from the 2010 Scouting Combine seems to be the spark that gives credibility to the Tebow-to-Titletown speculation: I'd love the opportunity to develop him. (Tebow) is a winner, and I'm excited to see what he does in the National Football League. He wins games, he's a tremendous competitor and he's like a lot of young quarterbacks; there's some things he can work on to improve on. But you can see his tremendous passion in the way he plays the game, and it will be interesting to see who has the opportunity to develop him. The opportunity to work with Tebow the football player is still likely enticing to McCarthy. The offseason quarterback school McCarthy created is highly regarded across the league and played a major role in the development of Rodgers and former Packers backup Matt Flynn. Rodgers used McCarthy's training to become a Super Bowl champion and the NFL's Most Valuable Player. Flynn used it to become one of the most sought-after free agents this offseason, landing a three-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks for a reported 24 million despite only two career starts. There is no debate about the biggest obstacle standing between Tebow and becoming a good NFL quarterback: his passing accuracy. Long term, Tebow's career completion percentage of 47.3 would prevent him from being anything more than an important social figure. But perhaps McCarthy could change that and turn Tebow into the passer many experts have said he can never be. So, with Tebow still only 24 years old, Thompson and McCarthy could decide that this is a project worth exploring. But to be clear: The Packers wouldn't be running gimmick plays with Tebow if they did take that leap. McCarthy's offense is one of structure, not trickery. He knows he's better off with a high-percentage pass from Rodgers than lining up Tebow behind center for a play to see how the defense reacts. If Tebow would ever make it to Green Bay, it would be as a backup quarterback to a future Hall of Famer, not as an offensive gimmick. So, would Thompson who guards his draft picks more vigorously perhaps than any GM in the league be willing to trade one to take on all that comes with Tebow when the reward is simply a chance to develop a second-string quarterback? Is there any reason Tebow would have a bigger upside than former Texas Tech passing star Graham Harrell, the Packers' current No. 2? Despite McCarthy's two-year-old praise for the former Florida Gator, it's hard to see how linking two of the biggest names in sports Tebow and the Packers -- will go from rumor to reality. Follow Paul Imig on Twitter.
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