The Jacksonville Jaguars’ signing of Tim Tebow has irked more than a few people around the NFL, but one established veteran tight end, Trey Burton, is a proponent of the former first-round pick’s comeback effort.
Burton spoke at length about Tebow’s situation and how he was baffled by the heavy criticism launched at the 33-year-old, per ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler:
“I don’t understand the outrage. There are 90 [roster] spots. If they want to bring someone in, why not? A lot of teams take fliers on guys from various backgrounds every year. […] From an athletic and mental standpoint, there’s no doubt he’ll do a great job. It’s the day-to-day physical part, the technique that’s the toughest thing.”Free-agent tight end Trey Burton on Tim Tebow’s NFL comeback
Now, anyone who speaks out on this lightning-rod issue of the NFL offseason is going to have certain biases of course. Burton played for Urban Meyer at the University of Florida, and said per Fowler, that he “love[s] what he’s about” in reference to Tebow.
It’s unlikely that Burton has the most neutral perspective because of his ties to Florida and Meyer, yet maybe his rather contrarian view can help bring balance to the big Tebow debate.
Trey Burton brings bias, but reason, to Tim Tebow controversy
Let’s face it: No one is really going to go to bat for Tim Tebow at this point. He much more recently failed as a minor league baseball player, and hasn’t played in an actual NFL game in many years.
Who’s going to stick up for Meyer, too? He’s widely viewed as an ultra-competitive, rigid know-it-all who thinks he can zig when everyone else in the NFL zags and still get away with it. He’s completely unproven in the NFL, and until he’s a proven winner at this level, the hits will keep on coming.
But Meyer knew that before he took the job in Jacksonville. Having Trevor Lawrence at quarterback already solves so many potential issues that’d otherwise be lingering. Without a viable QB, no NFL coach has a chance. With Lawrence, Meyer has a shot.
The rest is just outside noise. As Burton states, lots of NFL teams give long-shot players an opportunity when the rosters are at 90 men, as opposed to 53. Understand, this is coming from a man who’s established himself with a seven-year career after going undrafted, and is still unsigned, waiting for the right opportunity.
Given the thin depth chart Jacksonville has at the tight end position, perhaps Burton will wind up there in the end.
Tim Tebow’s comeback pursuit is overblown from every angle
Tebow knows the deck is stacked against him publicly and in terms of sheer odds to legitimately earn his way onto the roster on merit. His unique relationship with Meyer is the only reason he’s received this opportunity in the first place.
It seems like this shouldn’t need to be explained, but nepotism is rampant in any field of work. This is a classic case of that. Sometimes, things work out in those instances. Most of the time, someone else deserves the job on merit.
This is no different. Let’s just call it what it is: Meyer is doing Tebow a favor. There are plenty of other tight ends in Jaguars camp who’ll have the chance to get reps and make an impression. If they’re clearly better than Tebow, he won’t make the cut.
Even if Tebow makes the Jaguars roster, his on-field impact will be minimal. He’ll be no better than a No. 3 tight end to start off, and it’s not like anyone at that position is going to make all the difference for an NFL team anyway.
Tebow reunited with Meyer in Jacksonville is a complete one-of-one, galactic alignment combination. We’ve seen basketball players who didn’t even play college football go on to thrive as some of the best players at Tebow’s new position, too.
Once the pads go on in Jacksonville, it’ll be pretty apparent early on whether or not Tebow can hack it. Until then, why rush to judge this situation either way, or try to compare it to any other scenario around the league?