He's back - Tim Tebow to sign with Eagles

by Will Hall, |
Marcus Mariota and Tim Tebow embrace after Mariota's 2014 Heisman Trophy acceptance speech, Saturday, Dec. 13, in New York. Both men have a deep faith in Christ, are Heisman winners and now share a common connection through the Philadelphia Eagles' Chip Kelly. | ESPN/Screen capture

PHILADELPHIA (Christian Examiner) – Multiple media outlets have announced that Tim Tebow will sign with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday as the fourth quarterback on coach Chip Kelly's high speed, no huddle, read option offense.

The Eagles already have Mark Sanchez, who was picked up by the Eagles in 2014 and took over for the injured Nick Foles to notch a 4-4 record, going 3-1 in his first four starts. Matt Barkley is his backup. The Philadelphia franchise signed Sam Bradford earlier this month before deciding to sign Tebow as well.

Tebow last played in 2012 for the New York Jets, compiling meager stats in limited playing time behind the then starting quarterback Mark Sanchez. Tebow completed six passes out of eight attempts for 38 yards and added 102 yards on the ground, running with the ball 32 times.

But in 2011, he took over for a struggling Kyle Orton, 1-4, and led the Denver Broncos to their first American Football Conference title since 2005, and, helped the team reach the second round of the playoffs after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers for the franchise's first playoff victory in the same time span. In putting together an 8-5 record as a starter, Tebow led the team to game winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime in six contests.

Despite bringing extraordinary success to the Broncos, Tebow was and remains highly polarizing among sports fans and pundits.

He has an extraordinary throng of supporters who forgave sloppy play in the first three quarters of each of the 2011 games, giving him the benefit of the doubt because of his ability to inspire come back wins in the end -- and because he exhibited a humbleness and goodness attributed to his deep faith. Pundits skewered him about his unwieldy throwing motion, said his sloppy play was the reason Denver was in the hole for most of each 2011 game, and were put off by his public display of faith.

Although Tebow has been out of an NFL lineup for two years, he has not been out of the spotlight.

He was hired as an ESPN college football analyst in 2013 and worked with Good Morning America in 2014. Tebow also has been active with his charitable foundation which this year sponsored Valentine's Day proms in 50 cities for nearly 7,000 special needs kids. Late last year he opened a hospital in the Philippines. He also recently was linked to Jana Duggar -- one of the children of Bob and Michelle Duggar, a Christian family with a reality series, "19 Kids and Counting," on the TLC network -- but the rumored romance was finally exposed as not true.

With news of Tebow's signing, USA Today's Mike Foss attributed the move to Chip Kelly's ego, saying it is a chance for him "to prove he's smarter than everyone else" if he is able to "breathe life into Tim Tebow's flickering NFL career." His colleague at the paper, Lindsay Jones, offered that Tebow might be a "situational player" especially near the goal line. 

Phil Sheridan at ESPN says it could be ego, or a plan to run a three-quarterback rotation, but concluded Kelly likely is simply looking to find the best player for that critical position in his unique offensive scheme.

"Kelly's football team is a meritocracy," Sheridan wrote this morning. "The best player at each position will be on the field. All Kelly is really doing right now is giving Tebow a chance to prove himself better than Bradford and Sanchez -- better, at least, in Kelly's spread offense.