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Tim Tebow still training for NFL rebirth despite long odds

Let's get this out of the way first: If Tim Tebow's workout-gone-viral had been a revelation to the Eagles on Monday, he'd likely now be arranging logistics to spend the spring in Philadelphia.

Tebow remains, more than anything else, a curiosity in NFL circles.

According to one team official in Philly, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner did "fine." Sometimes, these tire-kickings are favors to players, to get them back on the radar. And this one, at the very least, did that for Tebow.

So ... what next?

Well, once players spend a year or more out of the league, it becomes exponentially more difficult to get back in. And it's not like teams were clamoring for Tebow's services when he caught on with the New England Patriots for a summer of work in 2013. But you can say this for the most famous unemployed quarterback on the planet: He's not just spitting in the wind on this one.

After he was cut by New England just before the 2013 regular season, 18 months ago, Tebow went to meet with Tom House on the advice of Tom Brady. House, who pitched eight years in the big leagues and also served as an assistant baseball coach at USC, runs a business tutoring "rotational" athletes on mechanics. It's attracted a host of NFL quarterbacks, including Brady himself and Drew Brees.

"What amazes me is this young man, with no job prospects, has prepared just as hard as he would if he were the No. 1 quarterback for an NFL team," House said over the phone Monday night. "He's busted his butt. He spins the ball better than he did and he's much more accurate than he was. I think he's ready."

House said that, from his perspective, the Eagles workout popped up out of nowhere. Tebow told him last week, and House sent his top lieutenant, Adam Dedeaux, to Florida for the weekend to tune him up for it. The two got work in around Tebow's annual golf tournament, which was Saturday at TPC Sawgrass. And as House saw it, that was just a final cram session for a quarterback ready for a test that was a year-and-a-half coming.

Over the last 18 months, the mechanics coach estimates that -- around his work as a college football analyst at ESPN -- Tebow averaged about two trips from Florida to California every four weeks, and they spent about two days per week working together during that time. That represents a massive undertaking, considering Tebow has a full-time job and also was working with a conditioning coach in Arizona.

The key, in House's view, was reps, applying a theory from Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers." Along those lines, House's belief is it takes 1,000 reps to alter a bad habit, and 10,000 for the changes to become, to use his word, "autonomic."

So House says his overhaul with Tebow took 1,000 reps to take hold. But as he saw it, had Tebow returned to play in live situations at that point, he likely would've reverted to bad habits. House wanted to get in another 10,000 reps, so that the changes would be so embedded -- autonomic -- that the old crutches would be gone altogether.

House says Tebow has logged those 10,000 reps -- and then some -- now.

"Our part is really easy," House said. "We helped his throwing. When he was released by the Patriots, because of Tom Brady, he came to us. ... He had trouble spinning the ball and he wasn't very accurate. We didn't do much conditioning or route trees or run many defenses against him. We honestly felt we could help him with his throwing, like everyone else, but this time, he got enough reps where the change was made."

It wasn't enough to entice the Eagles on Monday. And if you follow how the NFL works, it's unlikely Tebow will get another real shot. But House says, "He still has the dream, he'd like to be a quarterback, and he continues to work hard to that end."

The work hasn't been totally in vain, either.

"He's a much more efficient passer than when he came to us," House said. "Is he Brady or Brees? There aren't many of those. But he's better."

And that's a start, which is just what Tebow is hoping Monday's workout was.

Follow Albert Breer on Twitter @AlbertBreer.

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