For the first time in his football career, Tim Tebow is facing adversity. He has lost his starting job in Denver and has faced growing criticism from the media for his play. But ever the optimist, and always full of faith, Tebow is using the words of critics to fuel his fire.
"I heard some guy say on TV that I don't belong on an NFL team as a quarterback," said Tebow. "'ppreciate that. I will cling to a third-string role until my contract runs out or until I am given a chance to start for a CFL or UFL team, I guarantee it."
Entering training camp, it was presumed that Tebow would be Denver's starter and that the Broncos would trade Kyle Orton to Miami, but Tebow's poor play has elevated Orton to starter and pushed Tebow down the depth chart.
"On the first day of practice, Tim threw an interception into triple coverage and I reminded him not to throw into triple coverage again," said head coach John Fox. "He said: ''ppreciate that,' and then tried even harder to complete passes into triple coverage. They all got intercepted."
Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy relates a similar story about Tebow.
"One of the bathrooms down the hall from the weight room is locked because the janitors use it for storage now," said McCoy. "I saw Tim trying to get in and said: 'Hey, Tim, you can't get in there. It's locked.' And he responded: 'ppreciate that,' and then proceeded to spend 20 minutes punching and kicking at the door until he broke through, I guess thinking I had issued him some sort of challenge. The problem is not so much that Tim is a bad football player, it's more that he's not incredibly bright."
Tebow says that no matter what happens, he knows he can play in the NFL.
"All these critics drive me to be better," he said. "I get up earlier than anyone I know each day to get better, and also to scour the Internet to read negative things being said about me, which is taking more and more time of late. I've been getting up at 3:00 a.m. the last few weeks."
But if Tebow's football career does fail, he has many supporters willing to help him out.
"Tim, if this doesn't work, I would be happy to give you a job doing odd jobs around my house," Fox said. "Say, $15 bucks an hour or so?"
"I really appreciate that," said Tebow. "I'll get back to you, okay? Please don't hire anyone else just yet."