Tim Tebow unfazed by Jerry Jones' comments

By Terry McCormick

Special to National Football Post

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When asked about Jerry Jones’ ramblings from earlier this week that, “he’d never get on the field,” Tim Tebow responded exactly as one would expect a Christian should.

He turned the other cheek.

Tebow actually got a good laugh regarding the video that appeared on deadspin.com of the Cowboys owner in a bar, talking disparagingly about both the former Gators star and former Dallas coach Bill Parcells.

“You know, I haven’t even really seen it. I’ve just heard about it,” Tebow said. “I was visiting another NFL city when that came out, and they were kind of laughing about it there, and I really haven’t even thought about it. I don’t even take that as an offense. He’s just having fun.”

Tebow was in Nashville along with his parents, Bob and Pam, as the featured speaker at Lipscomb University’s second annual Don Meyer Evening of Excellence on Saturday.

Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and a part of two national championship teams at the University of Florida, is now less than a week from knowing where his NFL destination will be.

It’s a process that he says has been enjoyable, given his passion for football.

“To be honest with you, I’ve enjoyed every part of it, from the Senior Bowl to the Combine, to the Pro Days to the individual workouts to flying to visit teams – everything involved to sitting down with coaches,” Tebow said. “It’s everything I love to do, because I love playing football, and I love what I do. So it hasn’t been stressful. It’s been fun. I’ve enjoyed the process. It hasn’t too bad at all.”

The process for Tebow has included months of training at nearby D-I in Franklin, and an overhaul of his throwing motion, as well as adjusting to the pro-style offense from Urban Meyer’s spread option shotgun attack at Florida.

It has been a lot of hard work for Tebow, but while other aspects of his game can be questioned, work ethic is one of his strong suits.

However, his father Bob said that wasn’t always the case for Tebow as a youngster, especially when it came to tending to the family garden with his four brothers and sisters.

“When he was really little, we called him, ‘Shadetree.’ We’d send all five of them out to do chores, work in the garden,” Bob Tebow said. “And he didn’t work his hoe, he leaned on it. So there was a long process of teaching him to work hard, but it wasn’t that bad. He caught on, and he’ll outwork just about anybody now.”

Tebow said he now uses that work ethic and the criticisms that have come his way to drive himself even more. Talk of him being a third-round pick or having to move to tight end or linebacker to make it on the pro level have become much better motivational tools than that garden hoe was.

“I respond to those critics the same way I’ve responded to them since I was six years old – just go work a little harder and do a little bit better, and honestly not listen to them too much because they’re usually not the ones out there playing, and they’re usually not the ones out there coaching,” Tebow said. “So I don’t really have to pay too much attention to them.”

What Tebow is paying attention to where the next step in his life as a player will ultimately take him, and the added opportunities it can bring for him not only as an athlete, but as an ambassador of his faith and beliefs.

“I look at being an NFL football player and playing the sport of football, I think it gives you a platform, a platform for whatever you believe in. For me, it’s more than just a platform. I think it’s a responsibility and an obligation to be a good role model,” Tebow said.

It’s an obligation Tebow is already taking seriously. Appearing at a press conference the afternoon before the speaking engagement, the former Gators star was adorned with several rubber wristbands reminding him of critically ill children he had met and a former teammate who had died.

The family also answered questions about the pro-life ad Tebow and his mother did that ran during the Super Bowl, the controversy that surrounded it, and how it had an even bigger impact because of that.

“There were 5.5 million people who indicated they had cause to reconsider their stand on abortion because of that, and that is really amazing to us,” Pam Tebow said.

All in a day’s work for Tebow, as he continues to work both on the field and off.

“I never, ever think that I am a finished product. I never, ever think that I have made it, regardless of what happens, but continue to get better and never take a day off,” he said. “Because you can get better at what you do every day, and take that passion from the football field to the ministry to my foundation.”

Terry McCormick is an NFL writer based in Nashville, Tenn., who has covered the Tennessee Titans for several seasons.

Follow him on Twitter: terrymc13

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