Suddenly unwanted, Tebow has uncertain NFL future

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 15, 2013 at 7:30 pm •  Published: January 15, 2013
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"Every opportunity you get, you want to make the most of," Tebow said a few weeks before the season ended, "and I'd have loved to have more of an opportunity to just play quarterback."

Acquiring Tebow ultimately helped lead to Tannenbaum and Sparano losing their jobs. And, it clouded Tebow's prospects in the NFL. No matter what, though, he insists he's a quarterback.

Eric Crouch, a fellow former Heisman Trophy winner, knows what he's going through. Crouch was Tebow before Tebow, a tremendous athlete who played quarterback at the University of Nebraska but was told he'd have to switch positions to have a future in the NFL.

"I came out of a running attack at Nebraska where we didn't read a whole lot of passing defenses," said Crouch, now a college analyst for Fox Sports. "So, I was probably a much bigger project than what Tebow is. Sometimes you get labeled a running quarterback, but what you want is to be labeled a dual threat or a passing quarterback who can run."

Crouch was drafted in the third round in 2002 as a wide receiver by St. Louis, switched to safety and was in camp with Green Bay and Kansas City the next few years before playing in NFL Europe. In 2006, he played three games at quarterback for Toronto of the CFL. Crouch is done with football now after giving it one final shot with his hometown Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League in 2011.

"Listen, I learned a long time ago that I should've just done what I felt was the right thing to do, which was hold out on people changing me to what they think was best for me," Crouch said. "I was playing quarterback since I was 9 years old. I think the most important thing I would tell Tim is, you've got to listen to yourself on this one.

"There are going to be a lot of people telling Tebow what he should or shouldn't do."

Like the folks who insist a position switch is the only way Tebow will remain in the NFL — whether that's as a tight end, receiver, halfback, fullback or safety.

"I just don't think he will ever be a quarterback in the NFL," Brandt said. "I think he's really smart, but I don't think he has the mental quickness at the position. The second thing is, he just is not accurate."

Tebow, reportedly working out in Arizona with a personal trainer, could still land somewhere in the league as a project for an offensive coordinator willing to learn from the Jets' mistakes.

"He's still worth a try and I think somebody will sign him, but it'll be under the condition that it will be as something other than as a quarterback," said Brandt, who thinks Tebow will stay on offense. "If Al Davis were still here, he'd take him in a second and try to turn him into a tight end for the Raiders."

Or, Tebow could simply swallow his pride, head to Canada and become a huge star there with the CFL's wide-open fields. And then, who knows? Maybe he would come back to the United States — the same route Warren Moon, Doug Flutie and Jeff Garcia took to NFL stardom.

"There's no shame at all in going to the CFL," Crouch said. "They'd take him right now and he'd get a lot of tape, and if he's there two years, he'd have 50 games under his belt reading defenses and coverages. Let the NFL scouts make their decisions then.

"And, hey, he might have so much fun there actually playing, he might not want to ever come back."

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Follow Dennis Waszak on Twitter: http://twitter.com/DWAZ73

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Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL


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