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Sports Business

Tim Tebow has qualities Colts' Polian covets

February 9, 2010
KEYWORDS Sports Business

The NFL season is over.
Well, we all really know the NFL season is never over.

So that means it’s time to start thinking about the 2010 draft. April 22 can’t come soon enough for the Colts faithful trying to forget Sunday’s Super Bowl.

The question of course, who will the Colts take?

One interesting prospect; University of Florida's Tim Tebow.

OK, stop howling for a minute.
It’s no secret Colts President Bill Polian wants to strengthen the back-up situation. He wasn’t in Muncie 16 months ago because he loves Ball State football. Well, Nate Davis, as it turned out isn’t any better than Jim Sorgi. At this point, he might not even be any better than Curtis Painter.

But Tebow is a different story. Since the Colts have shuttered themselves away from the public since Sunday (and even if they weren’t, Polian isn’t the type of guy to tip his hand through the media) I’ll have to make some suppositions.

Clearly, the Colts won’t take Tebow in the first round. And likely neither will any other NFL team.

But if he slips to the Colts in the second round (because the Colts draft so low in the order, its almost like an early third round pick), I think Tebow gets a hard look. If he's available when the Colts pick in the third round, and I don’t think that’s likely, team officials will be introducing Tebow as Peyton Manning’s new understudy.

This is why it makes sense.

First, it must be mentioned that Tebow is a proven winner with a couple national championships to his credit. I know, that’s the college level, and that’s a long way from the NFL. But still, it’s not CYO either.

Second, Tebow is a character guy. And the Colts love character guys. With Tebow, you’re going to get someone who’s active in the community—in a good way—and who people in this market will identify with and love.

And Tebow is not an entitlement guy. Financially, he's not going to demand a big contract until he proves himself, and that makes him a risk worth taking.

Third, Tebow, for all his college accolades, won’t mind sitting. His ego is manageable. This is a guy who works hard, and by all accounts, loves learning. Who better to learn from than Professor Manning.
Tebow would be a sponge playing back-up behind Manning, and might even beat the professor to the film room and practice field on occasion. Polian loves a guy with a work ethic like that because he knows it’s contagious.

I mentioned earlier that Tebow wouldn’t mind sitting. And because he’s sensible, I don’t think he’d mind sitting for four to six seasons behind Manning.
Either way, Tebow knows he has a long path to travel to become an effective NFL starter, and who better to point the way than Manning. Even if he sits six years, at 28 or 29 years old, he could still have a nine or 10 year career as a starter.

A lot of guys realize a career like that with a franchise like the Colts beats a shot at starting earlier at a franchise with more tumult—say Oakland, St. Louis or Kansas City to name a few.

But who’s to say you have to reserve Tebow’s play to the scout team, pre-season and mop-up time. The guy is 6-3, 245, and appears to have a fair bit of ability or at least an unlimited willingness to try to run over, through, and occasionally around people. The concussion he sustained this year and the bigger fellas in the NFL might dissuade that to some extent at the next level, but still, he has some versatility.
Certainly Tebow could be of some use as an H-back. Or if he falls below the Sorgi line, he would appear to have some potential as a tight end, and I’m guessing he’d be a willing special teamer. He might even be a suitable replacement for Hank Baskett.

Personally, I think Tebow will make it somewhere as an NFL starting signal caller. Hall of Famer, well I’m not prepared to touch that. But weirder things have happened.

If it works out for the Colts though, it could prove a brilliant move by Polian to ease out of the Manning era. A difficult task by any measure.

And if the Colts ever decide to start a hootin’ and hollerin’ pre-game ritual like Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, I’m sure Tebow would be a likely candidate to lead that as well.

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