Tim Tebow

Extra Points: Mack, Donald, AAF, Spurrier, Tebow

Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack are two of the best defensive players in the league. They are also both heading into the final year of their contracts. They’re both angling for new deals and they’ve both threatened to holdout at various times to get those new deals. But, as Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com points out, there is a key difference in the two All-Pro’s situations.

Donald held out of training camp last year while Mack didn’t. Donald showed up just before the start of the regular season and ended up missing the first game before returning to form and easily winning the league’s defensive player of the year award. Since Donald missed all of training camp last year, due to an NFL rule, if he were to miss it again this year he wouldn’t be eligible to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Instead he would become a restricted free agent and the Rams would be able to match any offer Donald were to receive on the open market. As such, it appears Mack has much more leverage in his contract negotiations as Donald will be more or less forced to show up for training camp whether a deal gets done or not.

Here’s more from the football universe:

  • The upstart new football league the Alliance of American Football continues to make waves as they ramp up operations. The team recently announced San Antonio as the final city for their inaugural season, and St. Louis was apparently hoping to get the spot, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. St. Louis was apparently passed over due to issues with the proposed stadium for the team.
  • In more AAF news, legendary coach Steve Spurrier, who will be coaching the Orlando AAF team, is recruiting Tim Tebow to be his team’s quarterback. Spurrier reached out to Tebow privately, according to Florio, but Tebow plans on continuing to play baseball for now.
  • In case you missed it, Eli Manning recently spoke about issues like retirement, Odell Bekcham Jr., and the Giants’ 2018 season.

Dolphins Considered Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow

A common theme appears to have developed in Miami this week in the Dolphins’ search for quarterback help after Ryan Tannehill‘s injury: familiarity with coach Adam Gase.

As a result, some interesting names were considered. Although it’s not certain how seriously these considerations were, Armando Salguero reports (on Twitter) at some point in the process this week former Gase Broncos charges Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow were discussed.

Salguero also confirms the Dolphins’ previously reported interest in Colin Kaepernick, adding more names were likely bandied about during this emergency process (Twitter link). He also notes (via Twitter) some of the names were discarded quickly.

While the Dolphins landed their preferred target in convincing Jay Cutler to come out of retirement, their range of candidates is obviously notable. Set to turn 30 next week, Tebow has not played a down of regular-season football since 2012 and is currently in the New York Mets’ farm system. A historically inaccurate passer, Tebow did lead the Broncos to seven wins in 2011 and a dramatic playoff triumph. Gase was coaching Denver’s quarterbacks at the time, but OC Mike McCoy adjusted the scheme dramatically to fit Tebow’s unique skill set.

Orton, 34, played in a more comparable system to what Gase used with Cutler in Chicago and with the Dolphins in 2016. The passer opened three straight seasons as the Broncos’ starter before Tebow replaced him midway through ’11, and Denver primarily used a three-wide shotgun set for the less mobile signal-caller. Orton, however, retired after the 2014 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Tim Tebow, Mets GM On Minor League Signing

When Tim Tebow was last in the New York market, he was under center for the New York Jets. While the former University of Florida standout sold a whole bunch of No. 15 jerseys, he didn’t make a lot of plays for Gang Green and 2012 wound up being the last time Tebow was on an NFL regular season roster. After trying his luck with the Patriots and Eagles, Tebow turned his attention to broadcasting. After years of putting his charm, looks, and celebrity status to use on television, he is returning to professional sports in New York. This time, he’s trying to make it with the Mets organization as an outfielderTim Tebow (vertical)

Tebow, 29, has not played baseball full time in more than a decade. In his recent audition for major league clubs, he reportedly struggled to hit off-speed pitches from former big-leaguers David Aardsma and Chad Smith. One scout told ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick that Tebow showed a below-average 40 grade arm on the 20-80 scouts scale – a reminder of why Tebow was never able to make it as a quarterback on the professional level. Even though he showed “undeniable hitting ability” in the view of Crasnick, one has to wonder how far Tebow can get given his age, rust, and athletic limitations.

Count Mets GM Sandy Alderson among those with faith in the polarizing athlete. Alderson told reporters on a conference call today that Tebow is not being brought in as a ploy to sell merchandise. While he recognizes that Tebow faces an uphill battle in many respects, the GM says that the Mets could not pass on “a tremendous opportunity for us to associate with excellence.”

He has demonstrated through his personality a competitiveness that our players can see first hand,” said Alderson, who pointed to pitcher Seth Lugo and minor league standout T.J. Rivera as players who have come from obscurity to find success in the Mets organization. “I think any player evaluation starts with tools and from that standpoint, without grading everything out, suffice it to say that Tim has been a great athlete. He has demonstrated more than rudimentary baseball skills and we think with his commitment to success that this is an opportunity that we think is worthwhile. In terms of power, arm, foot speed, all of those things….we think he can be a baseball player. I think that is underscored by his competitiveness and his determination to succeed and improve.”

Alderson indicated that the Mets will be patient with Tebow as he refused to put a timeline on when the former Heisman Trophy winner could potentially reach the majors. The Mets will find out how ready Tebow is “over the next weeks, months, and possibly years,” though Alderson explained that he will be absent from his Instructional League commitments for “a few days each week” so that he can fulfill his TV obligations with the SEC Network.

So, why baseball and why now? Tebow explained that walking away from baseball was the “second hardest decision” he ever had to make and, in fact, he planned on making this switch more than a year ago.

[Then Eagles coach] Chip Kelly called in the middle of baseball training and, to me, that wasn’t just any opportunity. I figured Coach Kelly’s offense might fit me really well. But, we all know how that turned out,” said Tebow with a self-deprecating laugh. “After that, I started doing a little [baseball] training. Then, after the season, I really picked it up and now we’re here.”

Tebow explained that as he traveled the country doing speaking engagements over the last few years, the itch to play baseball would move him to call up a local team and take batting practice with them. For UFC fans, this may be reminiscent of pro wrestler-turned-real fighter C.M. Punk telling the world that he has trained for MMA with the occasional jiu-jitsu class and a “background” in Kenpo karate. But, in both cases, one can’t help but be impressed by the athlete’s positive attitude, competitive drive, and willingness to take a monumental risk in a brand new endeavor. Punk does not speak of winning the welterweight title from Tyron Woodley and Tebow isn’t telling the world that he is an All-Star in the making. For Tebow, this is about pursuing a dream – perhaps a little late in his athletic life – and making sure that he does not wake up one day as a 50-year-old baseball fan with enormous regret.

For me, I would consider success giving everything I have,” Tebow said. “That would be looking back on this journey and saying I did everything I could do to be the best I could be. I don’t necessarily view success as how many rings, championships, or promotions you get. I view it as whether I did everything I possibly could do to succeed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mets Sign Tim Tebow

The Mets announced that they have signed Tim Tebow to a minor league contract. The former NFL QB will participate in the Mets Instructional League in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Tim Tebow (vertical)

Tebow, 29, ran a 6.70-second 60-yard-dash and belted some long home runs in practice when he auditioned for MLB scouts late last month. However, he struggled to hit off-speed pitches from former big-leaguers in batting practice. Also, one scout claimed that Tebow showed a below-average 40 grade arm on the 20-80 scouts scale – an especially poor showing for a former NFL quarterback. The Mets, of course, are signing Tebow in part because of what he can do for minor league ticket sales. But, on his end, Tebow says that he is dead serious about his pursuit of a career in baseball.

This isn’t about publicity,” Tebow said. “It’s definitely not about money. I took a pay cut to do this. For me, you pursue what you love regardless of what else happens. If you fail or fall flat on your face, and that’s the worst thing that can happen, it’s OK. When did pursuing what you love become such a bad thing? I’ll make all the sacrifices to be the best I can.”

The former first-round pick of the Broncos has not appeared in the NFL since 2012 when he was with the Jets. Since then, he has had training camp stints with the Patriots and Eagles, but he fell short each time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Braves Considering Signing Tim Tebow

By Charlie Wilmoth

The Braves have “definite interest” in quarterback-turned-outfielder Tim Tebow and are considering signing him to a minor league deal, ESPN’s Pedro Gomez reports. The Braves spoke to Tebow on a one-on-one basis after his workout Tuesday, along with four other teams.

Tim Tebow (vertical)The former Denver Bronco, New York Jet and Florida Gator stole headlines last month with the news that he was trying his hand at baseball and had been quietly working out with former MLB catcher Chad Moeller. Representatives from every big-league team except the Cubs and Athletics saw Tebow’s workout in Los Angeles on Tuesday. The 29-year-old’s baseball skills received mixed reviews — he won praise for his raw power, but one scout told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale that Tebow looked like “an actor trying to portray a baseball player.”

Whether or not the Braves sign Tebow, he would appear to be a project. He has, obviously, dedicated most of the past decade to playing football, and however impressive his power might be, there would likely be a significant learning period before he could hit for power against high-level pitching.

This post originally appeared on MLB Trade Rumors.

Reactions From Tim Tebow’s Baseball Workout

Tim Tebow worked out in front of representatives of 28 different MLB teams on Tuesday and he didn’t exactly look the part of a polished big leaguer. Tebow got “mixed reviews” after his audition on the USC campus, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com writes. Tim Tebow (vertical)

Tebow, 29, ran a solid 6.70-second 60-yard-dash and belted some long home runs in practice. However, he struggled to hit off-speed pitches from former big-leaguers David Aardsma and Chad Smith. Also, according to one scout who spoke to Crasnick, Tebow showed a below-average 40 grade arm on the 20-80 scouts scale – an especially poor showing for a former NFL quarterback. Even though Tebow did not have a great day on the field, he still insists that he is serious about his baseball pursuit.

This isn’t about publicity,” Tebow said. “It’s definitely not about money. I took a pay cut to do this. For me, you pursue what you love regardless of what else happens. If you fail or fall flat on your face, and that’s the worst thing that can happen, it’s OK. When did pursuing what you love become such a bad thing? I’ll make all the sacrifices to be the best I can.”

For what it’s worth, Tebow understands that he has some work to do before he reaches the big leagues and he may even consider playing winter league ball in Latin America. If Tebow is indeed willing to leave the country to play baseball, one can’t help but wonder why he was never willing to try and reignite his football career in the CFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Bosa, 49ers, Tebow, McPhee

Joey Bosa‘s switch in lead agents helped end the stalemate between him and the Chargers, as Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes. Bosa’s camp shifted from Brian Ayrault to Todd France — each of whom work for CAA — after Ayrault rejected San Diego’s most recent offer. Because the club said it would only reduce its proposal from there, the agency decided to try a new strategy. “Good cop, bad cop,” one source told Gehlken.

Another key in ending the negotiations was the Chargers agreeing to language that would protect Bosa’s roster bonuses, according to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com (Twitter link). The former Ohio State Buckeye will receive 85% of his signing bonus in 2016, and the rest in 2017, per Breer, which represents a compromise between the two sides.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The 49ers could choose to put quarterback Colin Kaepernick “on ice” in 2016 in order to ensure that his injury guarantees do not kick in, as Breer tweets. San Francisco would be employing a similar tactic used by the Redskins last year with Robert Griffin III. Kaepernick’s $11.9MM salary for the upcoming season is fully guaranteed, but a report this morning indicated that the club could still cut the sixth-year QB.
  • Roughly half of MLB will be represented at Tim Tebow‘s baseball workout tomorrow, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Prior to the start of the season, Tebow reportedly worked out for the Dodgers and the team showed some level of interest in him afterward. Of course, the former NFL quarterback faces an uphill climb as he hasn’t played baseball full-time since 2005.
  • The Bears face a decision on linebacker Pernell McPhee in the coming days, as Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune writes. McPhee, who is dealing with a knee injury, is currently on the active/PUP list, and if he doesn’t come off said list by Saturday, he’d be forced to miss the first six weeks of the season. Chicago isn’t saying much about McPhee’s recovery, but it doesn’t look like McPhee will be able to contribute by Week 1.
  • 2015 first-round pick Andrus Peat played primarily on the left side during his rookie year, so the Saints are now considering moving him from right guard to left guard, according to John DeShazier of the team’s website. If New Orleans does make the switch, veterans Tim Lelito and Senio Kelemete would keep competing for the right guard spot.

Latest On Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow is set to work out for MLB teams next week and it sounds like he’ll have a full house as he shows his stuff. More than 20 clubs are confirmed to attend the workout, a source tells ESPN’s Adam SchefterTim Tebow (vertical)

[RELATED: Tim Tebow To Hold MLB Audition Next Week]

Prior to the start of the season, Tebow reportedly worked out for the Dodgers and the team showed some level of interest in him afterward. Of course, the former NFL quarterback faces an uphill climb as he hasn’t played baseball full-time since 2005. The former first-round pick of the Broncos has not appeared in the NFL since 2012 when he was with the Jets. Since then, he has had training camp stints with the Patriots and Eagles, but he fell short each time.

In Tebow’s workout on Tuesday, he will reportedly run a 60-yard dash, catch fly balls with throws to the bases, and take live batting practice. Tebow says he is hoping to play in the outfield and does not want to play for a team that only wants him for minor league ticket sales.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Tim Tebow To Hold MLB Audition Next Week

We’ll soon find out exactly where Tim Tebow stands as a baseball player. The former Florida standout and NFL quarterback will work out for major league scouts on August 30th in Los Angeles, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Tim Tebow (vertical)

Tebow is slated to “run a 60-yard dash, catch fly balls with throws to the bases, take live batting practice, and then take batting practice against more advanced pitchers who will not tell him what is coming and will be trying to get him out.” The 29-year-old insists that he is serious about his move to baseball and his representatives say that this is not a publicity stunt. Tebow is hoping to play as a major league outfielder despite not having played the sport full-time in more than ten years.

Tebow has been working with Chad Moeller to make the transition and the former MLB catcher believes that he can pull it off, despite the long odds.

I am beyond impressed with Tim’s athleticism and swing, and it goes without saying that he has shown a high level of discipline and strong work ethic,” Moeller said earlier this month. “I see bat speed and power and real baseball talent. I truly believe Tim has the skill set and potential to achieve his goal of playing in the Major Leagues, and based on what I have seen over the past two months, it could happen relatively quickly.”

The Florida product hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since 2012, when he was a backup signal-caller with the Jets. Last offseason, he tried to make the Eagles’ roster but Chip Kelly released him prior to the start of the season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Colston, Jaguars, Manziel, Tebow

Some assorted notes from around the NFL…

  • Free agent wideout Marques Colston is still rehabbing a shoulder injury, and the veteran is planning on exploring playing opportunities once he’s healthy. “Once I’m done with rehab, I’ll see what’s out there,” Colston told Aaron Kasinitz of PennLive.com. The Saints‘ all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns was released by the team earlier this offseason.
  • ESPN analyst (and former NFL general manager) Mark Dominik told SiriusXM’s Alex Marvez that the Jaguars could be looking to make a deal. The team is very deep at defensive line and tight end, and Dominik says the front office is hoping to trade some of their depth before the end of the preseason (Twitter link).
  • A source told Carlos Greer of the New York Post that Johnny Manziel is intending to clean up his act before pursuing another NFL opportunity in 2017. “He knows he’s hit rock bottom and he’s giving himself a year to get sober and get ready for football. He wants to play again,” said the source. “He really wants to turn things around and make people proud of him again. It’s not going to end this way. He really wants to make that effort. He knows what he’s gifted with … The spotlight got to him.”
  • Former major league catcher Chad Moeller can’t envision Tim Tebow spending more than two years in the minors. Rather, Moeller believes it’s more majors-or-bust for the former NFL quarterback. “Now, do I think a team is going to send him to rookie ball? No,” Moeller told Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “You’re taking a 28-year-old. You know what you’re getting. It’s either going to work or it’s not, and it’s going to have to be fast-tracked.”
  • Moeller also noted that Tebow needs to be wary of teams simply signing the former NFL player in order to sell tickets. Rather, the former catcher said Tebow is seeking an organization that would want him for his talents. “He knows he’s partially a sideshow to start with,” Moeller said. “But he does want a team that actually thinks this is for real and thinks this is someone that can help us.”