Tim Tebow says his opportunity with Eagles is ‘a blessing’

 
 

NFL, Philadelphia Eagles

 

 
 
 
PHILADELPHIA — The stage is set for Tim Tebow. If the former Heisman Trophy winner is going to earn a spot on the Philadelphia Eagles roster, he couldn’t ask for better circumstances.

“I think about it as, what a blessing,” Tebow said after Thursday’s practice. “What a great opportunity. I work extremely hard every day, try to be the best teammate I can, the best player. Try to make everybody else around me better as well. All of us are just trying to improve.”

QB Sam Bradford, the other Heisman winner acquired by Eagles coach Chip Kelly this offseason, has not been cleared to take part in team drills. Bradford tore his left anterior cruciate ligament last August. He can take part in limited drills, but not in many of the practice periods.

QB Mark Sanchez, Tebow’s former New York Jets teammate, is working with the first-team offense. Matt Barkley, Tebow’s prime competition for a roster spot, is also in camp.

For Tebow, this opportunity came after two seasons of being out of the league. He did some college football analysis for ESPN last season. He has appeared on “Good Morning America.” But the whole time, Tebow was working with throwing coach Tom House to try to improve his mechanics and get another chance in the NFL.

“I still competed,” Tebow said. “I trained every single day. You should have seen the Tebow Turkey Bowl. That was the craziest thing ever. You try to compete at everything you do. I’m a competitive person.

“Whether that’s training every day, whether it’s going to play hoops, throwing a ball, whether it’s what I was doing on TV with ESPN and GMA and everything, I enjoyed that and competed at it. You always want to do your best. Whatever you find to do, do it with all your might. That’s something I believe in.”

Now that he is back on the field, Tebow has a new appreciation for the game.

“All I know is that I’m enjoying this process,” Tebow said. “I’m going to take it day by day and try to get better. And also enjoy the opportunities. I think sometimes when things get taken away, you don’t realize how much fun it is to come out here and play this game. You can’t play it forever. I’m going to enjoy it.”

He has a chance with the Eagles. Kelly has seemed lukewarm about Barkley, choosing not to let the third-year quarterback from USC start the Eagles’ final regular-season game. Even though the Eagles were officially eliminated from playoff contention, Sanchez started that game against the New York Giants.

Kelly signed Tebow to a one-year contract on April 20, so the coach’s interest in Tebow is more apparent. With Bradford sidelined, Tebow will have plenty of practice opportunities to impress Kelly and the other coaches.

“I’ve always loved it,” Tebow said. “I think you appreciate it more now. I appreciate every opportunity that I get, every day of being able to come out here — no matter how hot it is, no matter how much you’ve been running, no matter how the workout was. You embrace it. You embrace that grind even more. You find joy in it, especially the hard stuff.”

 

Tim Tebow with Eagles: ‘You can’t play it forever, so I’m going to enjoy it’

 

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PHILADELPHIA — Tim Tebow’s newest helmet may be a dark shade of jade, but he certainly isn’t.

The NFL’s most scrutinized backup quarterback seemed as sincere, hopeful and upbeat as ever Thursday after making his first comments to the media since signing a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles last month.

And after nearly two years out of the league, Tebow is more than grateful just to have an opportunity.

“I think sometimes when things are taken away, then you don’t realize how much fun it is to come out here and play this game,” a beaming Tebow said on a sunny day in Philadelphia after organized team activities.

“You can’t play it forever, so I’m going to enjoy it.”

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Until joining the Eagles, Tebow had not been on an NFL roster in two years (New England Patriots during the 2013 preseason), is three years removed from any regular-season action (New York Jets in 2012) and hasn’t started at quarterback since he was a member of the 2011 Denver Broncos.

He needed this opportunity to slake the competitive juices that were still roiling.

“I still competed. I trained every single day,” Tebow said of his NFL hiatus.

“You should have seen the Tebow Turkey Bowl. It was the craziest thing ever,” he laughed. “I’m serious. We had uniforms.”

Tebow was in a red No. 11 jersey Thursday — his customary No. 15 forever belongs to Eagles Hall of Famer Steve Van Buren — and mostly ran with the third team behind fellow quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley.

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Presumptive starter Sam Bradford is still working his way back from an anterior cruciate ligament tear suffered in the 2014 preseason when he was still a member of the St. Louis Rams.

At times, Tebow’s release looked somewhat quicker, and his ball seemed to have better rotation after months spent working with quarterback whisperer Tom House.

“I’ve spent hours and hours,” Tebow said of time dedicated to his delivery.

“Hopefully when you dedicate that much time, you do get better,” he added, saying he was focused on his balance, posture and timing.

Still, he threw some short and some well beyond the reach of his intended receivers. He was also picked off during 11-on-11 drills, eliciting groans from reporters observing the practice.

But optimism runs high in May.

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“I think he’s improved,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said of Tebow. “He’s had a lot of time the last two years working at his game. (We) wanted to have a fourth quarterback here.”

And that may be the rub.

Acquired in a pre-draft trade for previous starter Nick Foles and two draft picks, Kelly clearly expects Bradford to be the guy. Meanwhile, Sanchez and Barkley are far more accustomed to the playbook.

 

Tebow apparently won’t be asked to switch positions — “He’s a quarterback,” Kelly said flatly — and may not assume any role as a two-point conversion specialist after the NFL failed to adopt the Eagles’ proposal to move that play from the 2-yard line to the 1 at the recently completed league meetings.

But Tebow, who said he feels lean and mean at just under 250 pounds, is ready to scratch out whatever role he can and could find a niche in Kelly’s system.

“I really like him,” Tebow said of Kelly. “I think he’s an innovator. He’s someone that, wherever he’s been, he’s changed how the game has been played. It’s really fun to play for someone like that.

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“It’s a lot of fun. I’ve done some similar stuff in the past, and I really enjoy it. It’s an offense that really keeps defenses on their heels in a lot of different ways — with tempo, with formation, playing fast.”

His athleticism, effectiveness in short-yardage situations and ease running the read option could certainly distinguish Tebow from a player such Barkley once Kelly begins winnowing down the roster.

“You just go out and compete and try to earn whatever you can,” Tebow said. “I’m looking to get better every single day I set foot on this field.”

Tebow makes his Philly debut

 
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum). Philadelphia Eagles' Tim Tebow smiles as he jogs onto the field for organized team activities at the NFL football team's practice facility, Thursday, May 28, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum). Philadelphia Eagles’ Tim Tebow smiles as he jogs onto the field for organized team activities at the NFL football team’s practice facility, Thursday, May 28, 2015, in Philadelphia.
 

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum). Philadelphia Eagles' Tim Tebow warms up during organized team activities at the NFL football team's practice facility, Thursday, May 28, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum). Philadelphia Eagles’ Tim Tebow warms up during organized team activities at the NFL football team’s practice facility, Thursday, May 28, 2015, in Philadelphia.

By ROB MAADDI
AP Pro Football WriterPHILADELPHIA (AP) – A slimmer Tim Tebow threw passes in shorts while a horde of reporters critiqued his mechanics and analyzed his arm motion.

Welcome to Philly, Tim.

The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner spoke to a large gathering of media for the first time Thursday since signing a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles last month.

Tebow praised coach Chip Kelly and teammates, explained his new appreciation for football after being out of the NFL for two years and emphasized his role is quarterback.

“I think you just go out and you compete and you try to earn whatever you can,” Tebow said. “It’s just about competing, trying to get better every day and that’s the goal.”

A former first-round pick by Denver, Tebow is hoping to earn a roster spot on his fourth team. Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez are the team’s two top quarterbacks, so Tebow will battle Matt Barkley for the No. 3 job.

Tebow was 9-7 as a starter with the Broncos in 2010-11, including a playoff win. He was traded to the New York Jets after Denver signed Peyton Manning and threw just eight passes in 2012. He bulked up and even played special teams as a punt protector for the Jets. Tebow was released by the New England Patriots after training camp in 2013.

“Sometimes when things get taken away, you don’t realize how much fun it is to come out here and play this game,” Tebow said. “You can’t play it forever, so I’m going to enjoy it. It’s a blessing.”

Tebow worked as a television analyst last year with the SEC Network and ESPN. He also spent time the past two years with former major league pitcher Tom House working on improving his mechanics.

“I think he’s improved,” Kelly said. “He spent a lot of time the last two years in terms of working on his game.”

The knock against Tebow has been his passing. His career completion percentage is 47.9.

“It was very helpful,” Tebow said about working with House. “When you get an opportunity to really just dig deep and train to get better, it’s always helpful. You figure out what you want to work on and work on it every single day and really have a process, not just one day or one week, but a process of going through it.”

Kelly’s up-tempo offense suits Tebow’s athleticism. Tebow ran for 2,947 yards and 57 touchdowns at Florida where he led the Gators to two national championships. He has 989 yards rushing and 12 TDs in the NFL.

“I really like him,” Tebow said about Kelly. “He’s an innovator. Wherever he’s been, he’s changed how the game has been played in a lot of different ways. It’s fun to play for someone like that.

“I’ve done some similar stuff in the past. I really enjoy it. It’s an offense that really keeps defenses on their heels in a lot of different ways with tempo, with formations, playing fast. There’s a lot of different ways that you can take advantage of certain things in this offense.”

Many have wondered if Kelly brought Tebow here to be a situational player. He could take advantage of his dual-threat skills on short-yardage plays or the two-point conversion.

“I’ll do whatever I can to help the team,” Tebow said.

Eagles quarterback Tim Tebow says he’s gotten better

Chip Kelly’s thoughts on Tim Tebow Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly discusses why they brought Tim Tebow on board. (Video by Saed Hindash | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

Mark Eckel | For NJ Advance Media By Mark Eckel | For NJ Advance Media South Jersey Newspapers
on May 28, 2015 at 3:08 PM, updated May 28, 2015 at 3:25 PM

 PHILADELPHIA — Everyone who has ever seen him knows what Tim Tebow can do, and that’s win.

Tebow was a state champion in high school, a national champion (twice) in college and in his brief playing time in the NFL took the Denver Broncos to the AFC West title and a playoff win over the defending AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

Now, after a two-year hiatus, Tebow is back with the Eagles, trying to win a job.

“I’m just out here competing, trying to get better every day,” Tebow said Thursday after an OTA practice. “Yes, I think I have gotten better. Hopefully, if you dedicate that much time, you will improve.”

Tebow spent his years out of football on television, working for both ESPN and Good Morning America, but he also kept training. He worked out with former baseball player Tom House (the guy who caught Hank Aaron’s 715th home run) to fix his motion.

“I think he looks better,” Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said. “You guys will see.”

Thursday was the first time Tebow did anything publicly, or at least in front of the media and its cameras, and he looked as good as you can look in an OTA.

One play stood out in particular when he ran what appeared to be a read-option play, faked a handoff up the middle and ran off right tackle for about 30 yards. His arm strength and motion looked just fine for May 28.


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For Tebow to make the Eagles final 53-man roster all he has to do is beat out Matt Barkley, a fourth-round draft pick in 2013 who has not shown a lot in his two years with the team.

“This is a great opportunity,” Tebow said. “And I’m gong to do my best to help this team anyway I can.”

While he wouldn’t say it, making the team isn’t all Tebow wants.

 

Chip Kelly remarks on Mark Sanchez’s second year with the Eagles Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly discusses Mark Sanchez’s condition, “He’s just a whole year advanced,” said Kelly. (Video by Saed Hindash | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

 

Play well in camp, see what happens with oft-injured Sam Bradford and his old friend Mark Sanchez, and maybe this is Denver all over again.

“I like this offense,” Tebow said. “It’s puts a lot of pressure on the defense,”

He likes Kelly’s innovative style as well.

“I watched him at Oregon,” he said. “I’ve always liked what he did. He plays to the players’ strength and not just the quarterback.”

Imagine Tebow taking over a struggling Eagles team in mid-season, leading them to the postseason and then beating the defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks in the playoffs.

It would be the story of the year.

He’s done it before, sort of, and that was without being in a quarterback-friendly offense under the guidance of Kelly.

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