|Stephan Savoia/Associated Press|
|Former Broncos QB Tim Tebow is not giving up on returning to the NFL.|
Former Florida Gators star quarterback Tim Tebow, whose NFL career began as the 2010 first-round pick of the Denver Broncos and fizzled with his release by the New England Patriots in August, has been hired by ESPN as a college football analyst for the SEC Network.
However, Tebow reiterated via Twitter that he hasn't yet given up on the dream of playing quarterback on Sundays:
I am so excited that ESPN has given me this incredible opportunity. When I was six years old I fell in love with the game of football and...â Tim Tebow (@TimTebow) December 30, 2013
â¦while I continue to pursue my dream of playing quarterback in the NFL, this is an amazing opportunity to be a part ofâ¦â Tim Tebow (@TimTebow) December 30, 2013
â¦the unparalleled passion of college football and the SEC.â Tim Tebow (@TimTebow) December 30, 2013
According to NFL Media insider Ian Rapoport, Tebow has an out-clause in his deal with the SEC Network if an NFL club shows interest. Josh McDaniels, who coached Tebow as his offensive coordinator before he was released by the New England Patriots, has been linked to the open head-coaching job with the Cleveland Browns.
Although the SEC Network doesn't launch until August, 2014, Tebow will make his debut with ESPN as part of its pregame coverage of the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 6 between Florida State and Auburn. The Auburn offense of coach Gus Malzahn is not unlike the scheme Tebow found national championship success with at Florida while quarterback from 2006-2009.
A report at thebiglead.com earlier this month set the stage for Tebow's move to the television side of the football business, as a competition for the former college superstar developed between ESPN, CBS and Fox. It will be interesting to see if Tebow, whose personality has always been unfailingly positive and upbeat, can deliver criticism when warranted -- and at times demanded -- in an analyst role.
Unfortunately for Tebow, there hasn't been nearly as much competition for his services as a quarterback. After being let go by the New York Jets in April following a 2012 season in which his role was very limited, he was picked up by the Patriots in the preseason this year, but was released before the regular season began.
For Tebow, 2013 was his first season away from football. And unless an NFL team looking to add a read-option wrinkle to its offense for 2014 looks his way, his first season back will be in the studio rather than on the field.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.