There are two realistic names that could immediately draw attention to the two new professional football leagues planning to start in the next couple years: Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel.
Manziel is making a tour of football leagues trying to get back to the NFL. Steve Spurrier wants Tebow to get back in the game, too.
The Alliance of America Football, slated to start in February of 2019, has already lured Spurrier to coach its Orlando team. According to USA Today’s Scott Gleeson, Spurrier extended an invitation to Tebow to come play, one University of Florida Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback to another.
“I think Tim knows about our league,” Spurrier said on the Orlando Sentinel’s Open Mike radio show, via USA Today. “He knows he’s welcome to come down [to Orlando] and play.
“Obviously, if his baseball career is going well, he may decide to stick with it, which I would certainly understand. But if it doesn’t go too well and he has the urge to play football, we would certainly welcome him in Orlando.”
While it’s probably not “obvious” Tebow’s baseball career is going well, he is playing for the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies in the New York Mets’ system. He has a home run already this season. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said earlier this year he thinks Tebow will make the major leagues someday. If Tebow wasn’t enjoying riding the minor-league bus, he probably would have quit by now.
But who knows, maybe there’s still a football itch. Tebow, as his legion of fans will gladly tell you, found his NFL career dry up pretty abruptly. He helped lead the endlessly entertaining 2011 Denver Broncos to the playoffs, then never started another game. He did have chances after the Broncos, with the New York Jets and then in the preseason with the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, but hasn’t played a regular-season game since 2012. While some NFL teams might have shied away from Tebow due to “distractions” brought upon by the media attention for signing him, the AAF needs that circus. Nobody, unless the AAF can get LeBron James to play some football or something similarly crazy, would boost the new football league like Tebow would. Not even Manziel has that star appeal among realistic options for the AAF. The league could do worse than writing Tebow a blank check and begging for him to play football again, especially since it will be competing for attention with the new XFL that’s slated to start in 2020.
Perhaps Tebow’s football return isn’t realistic either. He probably could have found a home in the Canadian Football League if he wanted, but it’s understandable why he didn’t want to go play anywhere other than the NFL. Tebow will turn 31 in August, and it’s not like a good turn in a new football league would lead to a rebirth of his NFL career. That has probably passed. He’d just be playing with a lot of players who couldn’t make it in the NFL for whatever reason. That probably makes Double-A baseball sound a lot more appealing.
But it’s smart for Spurrier to make the offer. If nothing else, it produces a few headlines for a new football league that will be looking to get in sports fans’ consciousness. And maybe they hit the jackpot and somehow land Tebow to give their league one heck of a publicity boost.
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