NEW YORK (AP) — Tim Tebow was “excited” about coming to the New York Jets. So much so, he used the word 44 times in his introductory news conference in March 2012.
Well, he must be pretty thrilled to leave.
After a failed one-year stint with the Jets, who never found a consistent or effective role for the backup quarterback, Tebow is free to explore other options after New York released him Monday.
Tebow spent most of his time on the sideline with the Jets, except when he was serving as the personal protector on punts, and never earned the confidence of Rex Ryan even when Mark Sanchez was benched. Meanwhile, Tebow did all he could to not show that he was, well, the opposite of excited.
Tebow believes he is still an NFL-caliber quarterback and it appeared his hometown of Jacksonville would be the obvious landing spot — until new general manager David Caldwell insisted that wouldn’t happen.
There are plenty of opinions on what the football future holds for Tebow, but here’s our Pick 6 of potential job opportunities:
The presence of new coach Marc Trestman and former Jets QBs coach Matt Cavanaugh make the Bears a possibility to sign Tebow, who would be a backup again behind Jay Cutler. Trestman worked with Tebow at the Senior Bowl and before the NFL draft in 2010, and raved about his work ethic and potential to become a solid passer.
Trestman, the former coach of the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes, has a track record of developing quarterbacks and has also worked with the likes of Cutler, Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden in recent years as a consultant when they were coming out of college.
Tebow might make for a good fit as the No. 2 quarterback after Campbell signed with the Browns. Whether Trestman would want to start his Bears career by bringing in the hype that comes with Tebow being on the team could be a deterrent.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
Philip Rivers took a major step back last season for the Chargers, but still can be one of the league’s most productive quarterbacks when he’s on his game. So, it’s unlikely new coach Mike McCoy will look elsewhere for a starter.
However, McCoy knows all about what Tebow can do when given an opportunity. The two were together in Denver when Tebow pulled off comeback after comeback during the 2011 season and led the Broncos to the playoffs. McCoy, then Denver’s offensive coordinator, worked the offense around Tebow’s strengths and appeared to be a magician in the process.
While it never truly appeared Tebow was a threat to Sanchez in New York, he could prove to be just that to Rivers — especially with a coach who believes in his abilities. Whether the Chargers, who just drafted Manti Te’o, would want any added attention remains to be seen.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
OK, so it’s not exactly the homecoming playing in Jacksonville would be, but Tebow would surely be a big draw in his home state — even if it’s as a backup to Josh Freeman.
The Buccaneers’ current backups are Dan Orlovsky, Adam Weber and third-round draft pick Mike Glennon, and Tebow might feel he could overtake them on the depth chart as the No. 2.
Tebow has also spent time this offseason working out in Tampa with a former Buccaneers (and Jets) quarterback: Vinny Testaverde.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Sure, it’s a long shot, but Tebow wouldn’t be brought in to challenge Tom Brady, of course.
Bill Belichick has a knack for bringing in players that other teams discard — Wes Welker, Danny Woodhead, Randy Moss, Corey Dillon, Aqib Talib — and reviving their careers in New England. Tebow has always said he just wants to win, and the Patriots have sure done their share of that. So, playing on special teams — and perhaps as a fullback/tight end — and being a mere piece to the puzzle could satisfy Tebow if the W’s pile up.
Two other factors to consider: Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels drafted Tebow out of Florida while he was the coach in Denver, and being able to tweak the Jets always makes Belichick grin a little under his hoodie.
The Alouettes hold exclusive negotiating rights to Tebow in the CFL, where some think he might ultimately end up.
Alouettes GM Jim Popp said his team would welcome Tebow — but as a backup QB, since 40-year-old Anthony Calvillo is entrenched as Montreal’s quarterback. There’s some debate, though, whether his game might be better suited there as a quarterback. With the CFL’s wide-open fields and pass-heavy offenses, Tebow’s run-first approach could further expose his passing deficiencies. But, he somehow seems to make things happen — when he actually gets some snaps — and might be able to run all over the place in Canada.
He could also consider the recent offer made by Brett Bouchy, the owner of the Orlando Predators who’d love to see Tebow playing in the Arena League.
This will always be an option for the ultra-popular Tebow, who attracts huge crowds whenever and wherever he speaks at churches and events. He’s not shy about sharing his strong Christian beliefs, and his multitude of fans extend far beyond the football field.
Tebow is extremely active with his Tim Tebow Foundation, trying to help and inspire people around the world. When Tebow is done playing football, which he doesn’t believe will be anytime soon, he could surely turn appearances as a motivational speaker into a full-time gig.