Tim Tebow is back in the NFL after years away from the game and while many around the league are divided on the merits of his return, he is making an impression at practice.
Tebow signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in May, drawing strong reactions from fans and team executives. Reuniting with Urban Meyer, who is also his neighbor, the 33-year-old is attempting a comeback at tight end after last playing in 2015 with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Many questioned the move, baffled at how an aging player would be gifted a roster spot and playing a position he has never taken a snap at. It has been one of the biggest NFL storylines with minicamps underway across the league. But, despite what many expected, it seems Tebow isn’t embarrassing himself at the position.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect the first time I saw him working out at tight end. But he didn’t look out of place, he looked like he belonged," ESPN’s Jacksonville Jaguars reporter Mike DiRocco said on "Get Up." "Now, his fundamentals need work, his footwork is a little bit slow and he’s getting some coaching after every drill there. But if people were expecting him to look like he didn’t know what he was doing, that’s not the case.”
Lacking the proper technique at the position shouldn’t surprise anyone, even the Jaguars’ coaches who believe this could work. Tebow never caught a pass in his NFL or collegiate career, let alone saw snaps as a tight end. The transition is especially difficult since he hasn’t taken a regular-season snap since 2012.
There is still another month until training camp begins, giving the veteran athlete more time to handle the learning curve that comes with a position switch. Given the level of admiration Meyer has for Tebow, he’ll likely receive plenty of reps to demonstrate he is learning how to play tight end.
The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner may not even need to excel at tight end. While the Jaguars will start Trevor Lawrence immediately, they can find creative ways to put the football in Tebow’s hands if he makes the roster.
Granted, there are concerns about using him in a Taysom Hill-like role. He isn’t remotely close to being the caliber of athlete Hill is and there is also evidence to suggest he isn’t even on that level as a passer. But his size and athleticism could make him an offensive weapon.
There is plenty of skepticism regarding Tebow’s chances of making the roster and Meyer could risk issues in the locker room if he gifts his favorite player a roster spot when it isn’t deserved. But this might be about more than talent. Tebow’s ability to generate revenue for the Jaguars and his relationship with Meyer could ultimately earn him a spot in Week 1.