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Orton or Tebow? Broncos won't say, but others aren't so shy

  • By NFL.com
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The best two words to sum up the Denver Broncos' quarterback situation? Stay tuned.

Coach John Fox reiterated his stance on the competition between Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow on Wednesday, amid reports that Orton already has been told he's the starter. Orton, as planned, is No. 1 to open camp and has clearly outplayed the competition while taking all the first-team snaps.

Still, no promises have been made, according to Fox.

"My story's been the same regardless of what you hear," he said. "And I'm in those meetings every day and know what's said to everybody. Nothing's changed. We've been singing the same song as seven months ago."

The brewing quarterback controversy bubbled up over the airwaves Wednesday, as ESPN NFL analyst Merril Hoge ripped Tebow's playing ability, drawing a rebuke via Twitter from, of all people, NBA superstar LeBron James.

"He is awful as far as accuracy goes, and what's kind of even more disturbing, he's probably worse moving and running around with the football and throwing than he is from the pocket," Hoge said on the air. Hoge later tweeted, "Sitting watching tape off bronco offense from last year! Orton or Tebow? It's embarrassing to think the broncos could win with tebow!!"

That was the cue for James, who tweeted, "Tim Tebow will succeed in the NFL. He's a hard worker, a student of the game, a natural born leader and most of all a WINNER! It takes time and he'll be nice."

Later, the Miami Heat superstar wrote: "Listened to Merril Hoge today on SC and he was just blasting Tebow. The man hasn't even play a full season and its only his 2nd year in. Guys get on that TV and act like they was all WORLD when they played. How bout encouraging him and wishing him the best instead of hating!!"

Orton has been the Broncos' starter for the past two seasons, since coming over in the trade that sent Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears and was orchestrated by former Denver coach Josh McDaniels. Despite throwing for 3,802 yards in 2009 and 3,653 yards in 13 games last season, Orton has been the subject of widespread trade rumors this offseason, leading many to believe Tebow is the team's anointed quarterback of the future.

A trade hasn't happened, though, and many now believe Tebow might be the odd man out. The former Florida Heisman Trophy winner saw limited duty in his 2010 rookie season, completing half of his 82 passes for five touchdowns and three interceptions and rushing for 227 yards on 43 attempts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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