Monday, March 1, 2010

Tebow continues to impress

Being a Gator who grew up in Gainesville it has been hard to think of Tebow as one of the best of all time. It's difficult, if not impossible, to understand in the moment that you are watching history being made.

Now that Tebow is transitioning to the NFL you begin to feel a sense of pride realizing that not everyone shared the somewhat rare experience of watching him play first hand in what basically amounts to your home field or what feels like your back yard.

What the NFL writers saw and experienced is nothing new to Gator fans, or even SEC fans. It is, however, very satisfying to see the national media discover what we've seen and know all along, even if a few of them are still skeptical or just plain obstinate in admitting that Tim Tebow is an alright guy.

Dan Arkush, of Pro Football Weekly, is the latest to develop a Tebow man crush.


Which brings us to Tebow, who, true to form, couldn't have made a better impression in his Friday Q&A with the national media. As journalists waited with bated breath on the second day of media interviews for this year's QB "rock stars" to face the music, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner with two national championships under his belt caused quite the stir when he showed up a lot later than all the deadline-stressed scribes in attendance would have preferred.

In short order, he had all those scribes, including yours truly, eating out of the palms of his hands, which never stopped moving while he held court like a polished politician with undeniable country-boy charm.

In advance of his interview, he had already made a positive impression on numerous NFL movers and shakers in the intangibles department.

"I just think he's been, probably taking everything else aside, as good a competitor as I've seen," said Vikings head coach Brad Childress. "He competes in a different way and plays a physically natured game."

Added former NFL personnel executive and current NFL Network and CBS Sports commentator Charley Casserly: "No one questions the character, the work habits. This guy will be off the charts in the interviews."

Amen.

"I don't know where I'll go," Tebow said when asked for a draft projection. "I don't know what's going to happen. I know that wherever I go, whoever drafts me, they will have a kid who is going to give everything to that organization, that franchise, and someone that's going to leave everything on the field every day that I go to work. And that's what I'm going to focus on. My dream is to be a quarterback, and I'm going pursue that as much as I can."

My personal favorite quote from Tebow — and there were plenty to pick from — was short but sweet.

When asked what his response would be to a team wondering just how he would handle being a No. 1 pick, he said, "I would do whatever you wanted me to do, and I'd do it with all my heart.

"And I'd do it over and over again."

Tebow also scored huge points talking about his non-football pursuits, a further testament to his seemingly All-Pro character. Consider his response to a question about what he would do if a career in the NFL never materialized.

"I'd do what I've been doing with the rest of my life, and that's trying to invest in people's lives and run my non-profit organizations and try to get those bigger," he said in total sincerity. "To put a smile on kids' faces that most people don't care about. And just try to give kids a brighter day. That's what my foundation is all about, giving kids a brighter day, especially in their darkest hour of need.

"That's what I'm going to do for the rest of my life, and that's what I'm most passionate about. I'm more passionate about that than I've ever been about football."

One day later, Bradford, Clausen and McCoy finally made their way to the Combine podium. Put simply, while they all said the right things, they just didn't come off the same as Tebow's comments.

As a result, I find myself compelled to root hard for Tebow to defy his detractors and pick up under center in the NFL where he left off at Florida.

In any event, I'm fairly certain the league won't have a classier act, regardless of the round in which he is selected and the position he ends up playing.


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