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Tim Tebow talks football, faith at Easter service

Tim Tebow has never been one for subtlety.

Everything Tebow does is big, and so it was the New York Jets quarterback/cultural phenomenon took the stage at an Easter Sunday outdoor service outside of Austin, Texas, with 15,000 people hanging on his every word.

Tebow didn't sermonize, as some had speculated when news of his scheduled visit became public late last week. Instead, Tebow sat down with Celebration Church pastor Joe Champion for a 20-minute question-and-answer session.

Tebow -- wearing a holiday-appropriate pastel button-down shirt and appearing completely at ease -- was asked about his football career and new challenge in New York. The majority of the conversation, however, unsurprisingly centered around his faith.

"I really don't think I was the first athlete to get on a knee and pray and it's funny because I've actually had the same routine for the last seven years and just this year they started calling it Tebowing," Tebow said. "I do think it's pretty cool because at least prayer is being talked about. My biggest prayer is for a high school kid to get on a knee and pray and it's not something that's unique or different."

That last comment drew a round of applause from the audience, which included plenty of No. 15 Jets jerseys.

The quarterback displayed a level of self-awareness in discussing a game on Oct. 30 in which Detroit Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch appeared to mock Tebow after a sack.

"I remember one of the first games, we're playing the Lions and I get sacked and the guy gets on a knee and is Tebowing on top of me, and I'm thinking, 'That's really supposed to be mocking me but it's actually flattering because you're praying.' That's a good thing," he said. "I don't know if that's a cut down; I'm not sure how to take it. Are you praying for me while you're on top of me or what?"

Tebow cited New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin and Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols as two examples of high-profile athletes who are proud and expressive of their Christian faith. Though discussion of Tebow's faith can sometimes veer toward the mean-spirited, the QB believes talking about it is all that counts.

"Sometimes I'll think it's funny, but for the most part it's being talked about, and when it's being talked about it's being contemplated by people and they're thinking about it," he said. "And that's exciting, that's exciting to me. Young kids are talking about it, and they're doing skits about it on "Saturday Night Live." And that means it's getting more popular."

An event like this puts Tebow's massive appeal into perspective. Name one other athlete who could be the star of a major religious celebration?

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