He’s a free agent but the Montreal Alouettes won’t be calling Tim Tebow about playing in the CFL.
In fact, if the subject is ever broached, it will have to be by the former Heisman Trophy winner.
“We’ve never had a conversation with him or his representation,” Montreal GM/interim head coach Jim Popp said Monday, adding there won’t be one unless Tebow or his management initiates it. “It’s all for talk and there’s nothing there, there’s no substance to it.”
The former Florida star was cut by New England Patriots at the end of training camp and cleared NFL waivers. Tebow can sign with any NFL team but if he wanted to play in Canada would have to approach the Alouettes, who have him on their negotiation list and own his CFL rights.
Many football pundits have suggested Tebow, 26, should head to Canada to play. Trouble is, Tebow has no intention of doing so, tweeting shortly after being released by the Patriots: “I will remain in relentless pursuit of continuing my lifelong dream of being an NFL quarterback.”
There are questions whether the six-foot-three, 236-pound Tebow could be an effective CFL player. He certainly is mobile but concerns about his passing mechanics and accuracy have created doubt that Tebow could succeed on the longer, wider Canadian field.
And Montreal isn’t waiting on Tebow. The Alouettes have four quarterbacks, including injured starter Anthony Calvillo (concussion) and Popp said if they decide to add a fifth with the intention of grooming him for the 2014 campaign, it wouldn’t be a name player like Tebow.
“I don’t think they [Tebow camp] would be ready to do that,” Popp said. “But if they are . . . I’m sure they’ll call us.”
Tebow enjoyed an outstanding college career, leading Florida to two national championships and winning the Heisman Trophy as American college football’s top player. Selected in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft by Denver, Tebow struggled mightily over three NFL seasons, completing just 47.9 per cent of his passes for 2,422 yards and 17 TDs with nine interceptions.
The polarizing quarterback’s popularity reached its peak in the 2012 AFC wildcard game when Tebow’s 80-yard TD pass to Demaryius Thomas in overtime earned Denver a thrilling 29-23 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But after signing free-agent Peyton Manning, Denver dealt Tebow to the New York Jets on March 21, 2012. Tebow spent just one season with the Jets — attempting eight passes — before being released April 29. He signed with New England on June 10.
Popp said although many NFL teams are carrying only two quarterbacks, it makes sense for Tebow to keep his options open.
“I think every one of them [NFL teams] because of his attitude, work ethic and leadership, he’s a winner, would love to have him on their team,” Popp said. “Whether teams are willing to have him on the [roster] or change their system for him, that’s a whole other story.
“There’s a lot of teams that have two quarterbacks in the NFL right now . . . there’s going to be guys picked back up and he might be one of them.”
The Patriots haven’t necessarily closed the door on Tebow’s return. On Monday, New England coach Bill Belichick didn’t rule out bringing Tebow back this season.
In the CFL, teams can have up to 35 players on their negotiation list for as long as they wish. For example, former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith signed with Montreal in August after Popp first placed him on the neg list in ‘05.
“We store players on our neg list for years and years and years,” Popp said.