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Tebow's No. 15 Broncos jersey leads NFL Shop sales for April

NEW YORK -- Rookie quarterback Tim Tebow already leads the NFL in one category: jersey sales.

Tebow's No. 15 Denver Broncos jersey was by far the most popular on for April. His celebrity clearly trumps the debate over whether he'll ever make it as an NFL quarterback after winning the Heisman Trophy and two BCS national championships at Florida.

Tebow is, at best, third on the Broncos' depth chart at quarterback. But the 25th pick of the first round in last month's draft still had the best-selling rookie jersey since the NFL started keeping track in 2006. Thirty percent of the orders came from Florida.

The Broncos were tops in the league in merchandise sales on in April after ranking 10th for the year ending March 31 -- and without any other Denver player's jersey in the top 25.

The draft's top pick, St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, was at No. 9, behind not just Tebow but the second selection, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. The new Detroit Lion, who ranked eighth, is the only lineman in the top 25.

The No. 2 seller in April is the jersey of an old quarterback on a new team: Donovan McNabb of the Washington Redskins. McNabb's Eagles jersey wasn't even in the top 25 for last year, trailing even teammate Michael Vick.

The trade to Washington has sparked not just interest in McNabb but in his replacement in Philadelphia, Kevin Kolb. Ready to make his debut as a full-time starter, Kolb was No. 12 in the April rankings.

Just as eye-catching is the drop in jersey sales for a quarterback who has been in the news for very different reasons: Ben Roethlisberger. The Pittsburgh Steelers star, a longtime mainstay among the league's most popular jerseys, ranked 11th for the year.

Roethlisberger is nowhere to be seen in the top 25 for April, a month when he was suspended without pay for six games for violating the NFL's personal-conduct policy. Prosecutors decided not to charge Roethlisberger in a case involving a 20-year-old college student who accused the quarterback of sexually assaulting her in a Milledgeville, Ga., nightclub.

LaDainian Tomlinson's move from the San Diego Chargers to the New York Jets boosted sales of his jerseys. He ranked 16th last year, but he shot up to sixth for April.

The rest of the top 10 for April includes many of the usual suspects: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and Steelers safety Troy Polamalu.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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