First, Tony Dungy weighs in on Tebow's Senior Bowl performance and draft potential.
"I know a lot of people are saying he will play another position and he might, but I think he’s going to be a great leader, a winner, and I think some team is going to take him and tailor their offense to the special qualities he has,” Dungy told me recently. “I think he’s going to be a fantastic player int he NFL.”
Dungy compares Tebow to Vince Young, the former star at Texas who has adjusted to the NFL after having a feet-first mentality in the pocket while in college. He remains a great runner, but he has also proven to be solid in the passing game.
“If I am a coach, I say to myself: ‘I’ve got a special, unique talent and I am going to structure my team a little differently to take advantage of that,’ ‘’ Dungy said. “People are starting to do that. Tennessee did that with Vince Young and was very successful. I think somebody is going to do it.
“Vince won a lot of games at the University of Texas. He probably won a lot of games in high school. Tim won a lot of games in high school, a lot of games at the University of Florida and my belief is that he will win if he gets with the right team in the NFL.”
And some Pro Bowlers have Tebow's back on taking a stand and the Super Bowl ad.
David Garrard, quarterback for the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars, said he appreciates Tebow for standing by his convictions.
“I applaud him for standing up for what he believes,” Garrard said after practice for the Jan. 31 Pro Bowl. “More people, more athletes should do the same.”
Philadelphia Eagles David Akers, one of the NFL’s most reliable kickers, said since he is “definitely pro-life” and has been through the adoption process in his family, he believes strongly in celebrating life.
“They have a life,” Akers said, referring to an unborn child, “and if you take that away, that’s pretty cruel.”
“If you get into the politics of what should and shouldn’t happen, I’m definitely biblically based,” Akers said. “I think that’s creation and we shouldn’t harm it.”
As for a Super Bowl ad supporting a pro-life view, Akers said, “If someone’s paying for it, absolutely.”
“What’s the difference between their opinion on that or someone saying yeah or nay to alcohol,” he asked rhetorically.
Heath Miller, a tight end for the Pittsburgh Steelers and a believer, said he appreciates those who encourage each other in their faith, and that he admires Tebow for his convictions and doesn’t believe anyone will change him.
“I think Tim has every right to use every stage to tell people what he believes,” Miller said, even a commercial during the Super Bowl. “He’s a football player, he can relay what he believes just as much as anyone else can.”
Garrard, also known for his Christian testimony and his involvement in the Jacksonville community where Tebow is from, said he would welcome the young man as a member of the Jaguars.
“I know he would be a good talent doing anything on the team and I know the fans in Jacksonville would just love him,” Garrard said. “I wouldn’t have any problems with him being on the team.”
Photo: Gary S. Green