Jacksonville Jaguars football coach Urban Meyer quickly selected Clemson’s star quarterback Trevor Lawrence in the NFL draft. He also soon nabbed that college team’s star running back, Travis Etienne, Jr. But Meyer had to wait nearly two days to find someone for the tight end position. Now news of one of the game’s most controversial players showing up at practice in Florida has pundits puzzling: Who else will fill out the Jaguars’ roster?
During the draft, the Jaguars chose Ohio State’s Luke Farrell as tight end. The 6-foot-6, 255-pound Farrell joins them after catching 34 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns at Ohio State. But his frame is ideal as a blocking tight end. So Meyer remains in the market for a pass-catching tight end.
The Jaguars’ Facebook page crackled with news of the team’s draft picks—but especially with talk of a possible Tim Tebow hire. Complaints about his age (he’s all of 33—practically geriatric in professional sports), inexperience at the tight end position (he’s known for his passing arm, and has spent the last several years in minor league baseball), and the length of time he’s been out of the game dominated the discussion.
Still, no one would be surprised to see Tebow end up signing with his hometown team. Tebow played quarterback for Meyer at the nearby University of Florida.
New Jaguar Farrell seems open to the idea, saying “Would not mind having that guy in my room.”
Tebow, who remains a college football analyst for the SEC Network, is an outspoken Christian. He won two national championships and the 2007 Heisman Trophy at Florida. Tebow was a first-round draft pick by Denver in 2010. He has spent time with the Broncos, the New York Jets, the New England Patriots, and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Tebow won a playoff game with Denver in 2012 but never developed into a consistent NFL starter. He declined several suggested moves to tight end. He even asked Meyer for guidance but then ended up switching sports and playing baseball for five years with the New York Mets’ organization. (See Tebow: Giving Everything I Have.)
Tebow retired from professional baseball in February and worked out for the Jaguars a week later—as a tight end.
“When he was a quarterback in the NFL, [playing at tight end] was a big topic,” Meyer says. “I was so busy I couldn’t give him the time. ‘What do you think? What do you think?’ [Tebow would ask.] And I didn’t know. I was too busy to even think it through.”
Meyer isn’t sure his former standout could still . . . stand out. “Playing a position in the NFL without [experience], that’s a long shot. This was years ago.”
So how did Tebow get a Jaguar workout?
“We had conversation,” Meyer says. “He worked out with our tight end coach. I stopped by, did not stay for the whole workout. . . . We’re going to revisit it here in the near future.”
Jacksonville could also look to another team for a tight end via trade. “Yeah, we’re still looking around,” Meyer says. “There’s some conversations going on right now about how to try to find a tight end.”
Meanwhile, Tebow seems to be taking the media attention in stride. His most recent tweet isn’t about football at all: “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,” he tweeted on May 2. (1 Timothy 2:5)
So far, Meyer isn’t committing to anything but a fair tryout for Tebow. But as Jacksonville superfan Raymond Rivera says, “What if it turns out he can catch?”
(Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer addresses the crowd, backed by offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and assistant head coach Charlie Strong, during an NFL football draft party on April 29, 2021, in Jacksonville, Florida. Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union via AP)