It looks like Tim Tebow may get to play pro football again after all.
Not in the NFL, but in the new AAF that starts play next February.
And not for just any coach, but for canny Steve Spurrier, another Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at the University of Florida where Tebow won the same trophy plus two NCAA national championships under Coach Urban Meyer.
Spurrier is the newly-named head coach of the Orlando franchise of the Alliance of American Football that begins play on CBS next February the Sunday after the Super Bowl. It will play an eight-game season with a range of new rules designed to speed and heighten a game’s excitement–no TV timeouts, no kickoffs, only two-point conversions, 30-second play clock.
The 73-year-old Spurrier talked with Tebow this week. “If he wants to start throwing the (football), we have a No. 15 jersey waiting for him,” the coach said.
Last week in his first at-bat in Double-A ball Tebow hit a three-run homer for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. Since then, the outfielder has struggled at the plate. According to Coach Spurrier, Tebow said he wanted to chase his baseball dream some more.
Right now his message is: ‘Coach, I’m going to keep swinging the bat.’ And I said ‘I don’t blame you. I’d swing the bat all this summer and see where that leads.’ But if it doesn’t materialize, I think he has some football left in him. We’re just going to have to wait and see on that.
Spurrier knows something about athletic adversity. A first-round draft pick of San Francisco, Spurrier played in the NFL a decade, mainly as a backup. He coached the upstart USFL’s Tampa Bay Bandits to a 35-19 record in three seasons and two seasons as Washington Redskins’ coach. He’s been head coach at Duke, South Carolina and Florida where his innovative, wide-open offensive schemes puzzled defenses and broke records.
At Florida he won six SEC championships, one consensus national championship and became the first Heisman Trophy winner to coach a Heisman Trophy winner with Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel.
Playing for an Orlando pro team would place Tebow just 115 miles from Gainesville where he won his two NCAA championships, plus a state high school championship. And he’d be smack dab in the middle of a football-crazy state and his avid fan-base that drove hours to see him play baseball in St. Lucie last summer.
This may be his last season to convince the Mets to keep him developing through Double-A and perhaps Triple-A. Understandably, Tebow wants to play it out.
Tebow says he’s had offers to return to the NFL but not at quarterback, a deal-breaker for him. “For me,” Tebow adds, “it’s doing more of my dream, ’cause I loved playing quarterback. But I love hitting a baseball, too. So I’m gonna go live out my dreams, not just what other people want me to do.”