Tim Tebow hasn't forgotten last year's intense debate over his ability to adapt to the NFL, so he's using this offseason to stay relevant in the Denver Broncos' quarterback derby -- and perhaps emerge as the starter.
Tebow, who rose to fame while running the spread offense at the University of Florida, said Friday on Atlanta's WQXI-AM that almost all of his work this spring has taken place from under center, according to Sports Radio Interviews.
"Well, I believe this offseason has been great," Tebow said. "Just working extremely hard, on the grind pretty much all offseason. I haven't taken a break. I've been working a lot on my drops from under center, I haven't done any shotgun stuff all offseason. Everything's just been under center -- straight drops, play-action fakes, straight drops, fives, sevens -- just working on all the throws.
"Accuracy and precision with my passes has been the No. 1 thing that I've worked on all offseason, and I believe that I've improved that a lot."
Tebow accepts that no matter what he does, some just aren't fans of the mania surrounding a player who passed for 654 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie last season.
"I definitely understand that, and people are entitled to their own opinion," Tebow said. "I just try -- when I meet someone, or when I come in contact with someone -- to always leave a better impression than before I got there. Honestly, that's something that drives me because I want to be genuine, I want to be real, I want to tell people, 'Listen, Iâm trying to do it the right way, I'm trying to go out there and reach my goals, but you know what? I stumble, I make mistakes, I'm not perfect.' "
John Elway, the Broncos' executive vice president of football operations, told KKFN-FM earlier this month that the team, which owns the No. 2 overall pick in this month's draft, is looking closely at quarterbacks despite the presence of Tebow, Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn on the roster. The Broncos met with Missouri's Blaine Gabbert and Auburn's Cam Newton this week.
"We're not sure we have a franchise guy on our team right now," Elway said at the time.
Tebow, who generated some excitement while starting in the Broncos' final four games last season, praised Elway, a Hallof Fame quarterback in Denver, and said the two have a "great relationship."
"I got to spend a lot of time with him since I got drafted before he was officially a part of the club. He's just been great," Tebow said. "Before my first start against Oakland, he had me over for dinner that Tuesday night, and we just talked and hung out and he just gave me advice. He does great things like that. He just loves being involved and talking and giving advice, and sometimes it's just a little thing here, or a little thing here, just simple things, and you're like 'Ah, Iâm going to listen. It's John Elway.' It's amazing, especially as a young guy getting to learn from a guy like that."
The NFL lockout has prevented Tebow from working with new Broncos coach John Fox and his staff, but the quarterback sees a distinct advantage for hard-working players during this unusual offseason.
"I look at it two ways. I would love to be there going through OTAs with the coaches, with everyone, but also I look at in positive ways," Tebow said. "I know there's a lot of great players, but I also know there's a lot of players out there that are loving this right now and they're not going to work everyday extremely hungry, and they're resting on their laurels a little bit and saying 'Hey, this is a vacation for me.' I love that, because everyday I'm looking to get better. So I believe that's an opportunity for me to get an edge on a lot of players, and I'm going to take that. Whether that's true or not, that's in my head and that's all that matters."
Florida honored Tebow with a life-sized statue outside its stadium earlier this month, and the former Gators quarterback called the honor "a little weird."
"Itâs very humbling, it's a great honor, but to be honest, I got to tell you I probably won't look at it too much," Tebow said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.