Contrary to popular belief, Tim Tebow has a staunch supporter in John Elway.
Elway, the Broncos' executive vice president of football operations, has been publicly lukewarm to the idea of Tebow as Denver's longterm option at quarterback. Elway is aware how his comments have been perceived, and now he's attempting to make it clear he's behind the QB who's run off six wins in seven tries for the AFC West-leading Broncos.
"Do I know where (Tebow's) ceiling is? I hope that ceiling is a mile high," Elway told FOXSports.com on Thursday. "It's just hard to predict. I don't have that answer right now. But there's nobody more supportive or wants him to be that guy than me."
Elway's weekly commitment to a local Denver radio station has become a mine field, where answers about Tebow's future are twisted into sound bites and quotes Elway feels distorts his message. The most pertinent example of this came following a Week 11 win over the Jets, when Elway was asked if he felt "any closer to having your quarterback on this team than you were four or five weeks ago."
Elway answered, "No," a response he came to regret.
"It was a little bit too blunt," Elway said. "That's what (the radio station) played rather than what I said after that and the fact he's getting better. They're asking about the future. I should have said, 'We're not talking about the future. We're talking about right now. Tim Tebow is definitely our guy.' "
Elway recently spoke with Tebow to clear the air.
"I said, 'I know you don't read those things, but I know you're just like me in that your family and friends think it's their obligation to tell you something that was said about you,' " Elway said. " 'I just wanted to make sure that as long as you and I are always on the same page I'll do the best I can.' "
It's easy to forget Elway is as green when it comes to his job as Tim Tebow is to his. The rapid rise of Tebowmania has provided a valuable learning experience for Denver's former franchise quarterback.
"I always thought he was a great football player," said Elway, referring to Tebow's iconic run at the University of Florida. "Our job is to make him a great quarterback."
Is Elway coming around on his young QB? Elway also discusses his plan to work with Tebow on mechanics -- specifically with his footwork -- during the offseason. Judging by Elway's comments, Tebow seems to have done enough to be prepped as the team's starter next year.
That's all the commitment Tebow -- or any NFL player -- can really ask for.