Will the former Heisman winner return to the NFL?
By: Noah Nichols
News broke the week of the 2021 NFL draft that Tim Tebow was attempting a return to the NFL. The Jacksonville Jaguars were trying him out as a tight end. There has not been follow-up news regarding this tryout, but that could be due to a couple of things, like the 2021 NFL draft, taking priority. A few teams could afford to take a look at Tebow, not as a starting quarterback, but as a tight end, special teams player, or all-around weapon. Ultimately, Tebow still has a long shot of returning to the NFL, but there are a few teams that would be a good fit for him. That starts with the team that had him in for a tryout.
The Jaguars could certainly use a tight end to help out their new young quarterback, Trevor Lawrence. Rookie quarterbacks, no matter their talent level, love two things. The first is a running back to rely on. The second is a tight end to throw to when no one else is open. Colloquially referred to as a quarterback “wubby.” If Tebow can make the transition to a tight end, he could certainly be that for Lawrence. Tebow has tight end speed, running a 4.7 40-yard dash, and he has good height at 6″3. He is 255 pounds, so he has the weight, and if you have seen any pictures of him, all the weight is muscle.
The only real question is, can he actually play tight end. Maybe. It would take him a while to learn the position, and he is 33 years old, so he is probably not going to be the next George Kittle if he does make the transition. Tebow has a chance, and could potentially also play the role of a big (very big) fullback, and special teams ace. The Jaguars are a great fit, because they need so much, and with those needs comes opportunities for Tebow to make the team.
New Orleans Saints
With Taysom Hill slotted to be in contention for the starting position at quarterback, Sean Peyton could use a similar athlete on his team. And while Hill is not guaranteed the starting position, he will be in contention for it. Sean Peyton said this when asked about who his starting quarterback will be. “Taysom [started] four games for us last year. And [we’ll] let those guys go to work, and I’m excited about it. I’m excited about those two. Now, there are a few things that may still be out there. But I see those two competing for this position.” And if Hill is the starting quarterback or even the backup, Peyton can ill afford to risk him too much.
That’s where Tebow comes in. Tebow is a similar athlete to Hill. Tebow is not as fast as Hill, who ran a 4.4 40-yard dash. compared to Tebow’s 4.7 40-yard dash. Tebow can still provide the talent that Peyton utilizes in Hill, and Tebow is a more experienced passer. Ultimately, Tebow would just be a weapon, could line up at tight end, play special teams, and throw a pass or two once a game to keep teams honest. However, he would have no chance to take the starting quarterback role from either Hill or Jameis Winston.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers may seem like a strange team to put on this list. However, like Sean Peyton, Kyle Shanahan is one of the greatest offensive minds in the NFL. And like Peyton, Shanahan likes to use players who can be a “swiss army knife.” Tebow can be that player for the 49ers. Tebow could be used as a large fullback that could go out for passes. Or, throw a pass or two on a trick play.
Tebow could even be handed the ball on occasion near the goal line, where he could use his 6″3. 255-pound frame to its potential. Tebow could potentially be what Shanahan wanted him to be. The 49ers are a good fit is because Shanahan does not have to peg Tebow into a certain position. Instead, Shanahan can decide to use Tebow in whatever way would best fit the team and the situation. Though Tebow has a long road to make a return to the NFL, and no chance to return as a quarterback, he has a chance. And these three teams are his best shots.