When quarterback Tim Tebow was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles last week, head coach Chip Kelly recommended he try the CFL, and there seemed to be a possibility he might indeed do that. Despite the many discussions over the years of how Tebow's skills (and his lack of accuracy in particular) are spectacularly ill-suited to a three-down, passing-focused league, the Montreal Alouettes have kept him on their negotiation list (even with general manager Jim Popp saying he wasn't sure Tebow would succeed in the CFL), and Popp has said he was all set to sign Tebow last August, but Tebow turned him down to take a job as an ESPN analyst. That pattern has now repeated; as Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing writes, Tebow has opted to decline Kelly's advice in favour of returning to ESPN and the ESPN-owned SEC Network. Here's the statement from the SEC Network on Tebow's return:
Tim Tebow returns to ESPN this Saturday, Sept. 12, as an SEC Network college football analyst. Tebow resumes his role on the network's two-hour traveling pregame show, SEC Nation. The show is live from Nashville, on the Vanderbilt campus, beginning at 10 a.m. ET (9 a.m. CT) prior to the Georgia at Vanderbilt football game.
"Tim quickly developed into an excellent analyst last year, and we were not shy about acknowledging his home at ESPN should he be available to return," said John Wildhack, ESPN Executive Vice President.
Tebow is far from the first player to opt for a broadcasting career over playing in the CFL, and he isn't even the first former University of Florida quarterback to do so (Jesse Palmer left the Montreal Alouettes for ESPN after the 2006 season, and has been there and at sister network ABC ever since). It makes plenty of sense for him to do so, too. Tebow's certainly not a guaranteed success in the CFL, and he might never even see the field in Montreal, especially coming in midseason when the Alouettes already have quarterbacks Rakeem Cato, Tanner Marsh and Brandon Bridge on the roster (plus currently-injured QBs Jonathan Crompton and Dan LeFevour) and he doesn't have the benefit of a training camp to try to adjust to the Canadian game. Meanwhile, he's shown a lot of potential as a broadcaster for both ESPN and ABC, and he could have a long future there (and is probably making more money than he would in the CFL, at least at first). Tebow didn't do that well in this NFL preseason, and this decision probably shows that he's hanging up his cleats for good, so we hopefully won't have to write about his chances in the CFL any further.