Lost somewhere in the high fervor surrounding Tim Tebow's ascension in Denver is a defense that -- in the eyes of many -- has saved the Broncos' season.
Safety Brian Dawkins rests at the center of that effort, but Tebow will garner the acclaim no matter what the defense does. It's a dynamic that running back Willis McGahee and others have preached against, but nobody in Denver believes their quarterback is seeking attention for himself.
"I think the key thing to point out is that Tim is not asking for any of that, he's not parading and beating himself on the chest," Dawkins told WQXI-AM in Atlanta this week. "He's actually saying the same thing Willis (McGahee) is saying, that it's a team thing. We understand the significance of this."
Dawkins, 38, has encountered a vast array of personalities during his celebrated NFL career, but it's hard to drum up another football player who has generated the type of radioactive response surrounding Tebow.
Tebow's faith, especially, is a hot-button topic, but Dawkins believes his quarterback is genuine.
"You don't go out and hang anybody, or whatever you want to call it, for their opinion," Dawkins said. "At the same time, here you have a guy who is not ashamed of who he serves. He knows that everything that he has and every bit of fortune that he's been able to get has been because of his faith, and he believes that 110 percent. When those opportunities come for him to express that, he is going to continue to express that. There are going to be those that don't like that, and they're welcome to that opinion. Then in the other half, myself included, that hears that and understands where he is coming from."