ShareThis Page

Starkey: Steelers know — Tebow belongs in NFL

| Thursday, June 6, 2013, 10:27 p.m.
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) sits on the bench near backup quarterback Tim Tebow earlier this season.
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) sits on the bench near backup quarterback Tim Tebow earlier this season.

Throwing out Tim Tebow's name figured to generate some interesting reactions among the Steelers this week — and no, the topic had nothing to do with Ben Roethlisberger's minor knee surgery.

I'm not sure Tebow's a quarterback, anyway, though I know he's better than at least half the backups in the NFL. I know he can help a team in some way, shape or form.

Who could speak to that better than the Steelers?

I wondered if players were surprised that Tebow had yet to find a team since the New York Jets cut him a month ago.

I also wondered if they'd welcome him here, even knowing the chance of that happening is about as good as Mike Tomlin calling HBO to invite “Hard Knocks” to Latrobe.

So, Larry Foote, would The Tebow Show fly in Pittsburgh?

“If (GM) Kevin Colbert says so, I'm all for it.”


“Why not?” he said. “Tebow, just from what I see, is an awesome guy and a talent.”

Other players weren't quite as eager to talk about Tebow when asked if they were surprised he's out of work.

“I don't know,” said cornerback Ike Taylor. “That's on him. My name's Ike.”

“I don't really care about that,” said defensive end Brett Keisel, referring to Tebow and not that Taylor's name is indeed Ike. “I'm not really surprised.”

Foote had a different take.

“He won some games, had some success,” Foote said. “We know it first-hand. I think he should be somewhere at least competing for a job. I think he's earned that.”

No reasonable thinker would peg Tebow a starter. But nobody can convince me he's not good enough to be a backup or perhaps to play another position, given that he stands 6-foot-3, 236 pounds and has a knack for running the ball.

Look around the league, and you see the likes of Dan Orlovsky, Dominique Davis and B.J. Coleman working as No. 2 quarterbacks. JaMarcus Russell is getting a tryout, for goodness sake. You're telling me there's no place for a guy who went 7-4 two years ago and beat the Steelers in a playoff game?

“The ultimate goal out here is to win, and he won football games, so I'm a little surprised,” said Steelers backup Bruce Gradkowski. “But I know how it is. It happened to me. I was on the streets for a while. I think something will break for him, but it's a tough business.”

When pressed, Taylor and Keisel acknowledged a grudging respect for Tebow, who, of course, beat the Steelers in a playoff game two years ago by throwing for 316 yards and two touchdowns. I asked each if they considered him to be a decent player.

“Tim Tebow is real decent,” Taylor said. “But (his future) isn't up to me. You gotta ask the owners and coaches and GMs. As far as being a competitor, he's one of the best competitors I've seen.”

“He beat us. You have to give him credit for that,” Keisel said. “I think he'll get another shot.”

It's fairly obvious why Tebow hasn't gotten another shot. Foote laughed when he spoke to it, but his words rang true: “You guys are the reason he's not in the league. It's your fault.”

That really is the most logical explanation. Not that all of us media types are at fault. Most of us, for example, didn't have anything to do with a certain outlet celebrating Tebow's birthday by way of a television special.

If you know NFL coaches and general managers, you know they are among the most paranoid people on earth. Do you think many of them would want to put up with the media monstrosity that is Tebow?

If he were a star, sure. He's a role player, at best.

Still, I would argue that in certain situations, Tebow's presence might actually help by deflecting attention away from other matters. I also happen to believe he could help a team win, whether as an H-back or a backup quarterback, and that he'd thrive in the right environment — which New York certainly was not.

Pittsburgh could be one of those environments, but it won't be the place for Tebow.

Will anywhere?

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.