If NFL won't give Tebow a chance, Orlando Predators will

Maybe he could be AFL's next Kurt Warner

They are calling it "The Tim Tebow Experience" – a chance for Central Floridians to work out with the Florida Gators legend/pop culture icon Sunday at D1 Orlando – the new training facility in Lake Mary that Tebow co-owns with Atlanta Braves legend Chipper Jones.

That's right, Timmy will temporarily be in our midst this weekend, but I'm thinking he should consider a more permanent arrangement. I'm thinking he should stay in the City Beautiful and continue his pro football career as the new quarterback of the Orlando Predators.

Don't laugh.

I'm not kidding.

Tebow, for some baffling reason, cannot get a fair chance as a starting QB in the NFL. Not even with his pathetic hometown team – the Jacksonville Jaguars, who seem to have this mysterious allergic reaction to being relevant and interesting. I've said this before and I'll say it again: It's astounding to me why other young quarterbacks (see Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, Brandon Weeden, Josh Freeman, etc.) are drafted into the NFL and given two and three years to develop, learn from their mistakes and go through the process of becoming a pro quarterback. Not Tebow. Nobody has ever given this kid a chance to mature and progress into a legitimate NFL quarterback.

It's puzzling that in this day and age when the read option is becoming more and more prevalent in the NFL that Tebow, one of the great read-option quarterbacks in college football history, can't even get a sniff of a starting job in the NFL. But, hey, I don't claim to be an NFL personnel expert. If nobody is interested in Tebow, the only conclusion to be drawn is that the NFL braintrust feel he just isn't good enough to be a quarterback in their league.

This is where the Orlando Predators come in. If Tebow's not an NFL quarterback, he should come to the Arena League and make himself into an NFL quarterback just like Kurt Warner did.

Warner, another devout Christian, was initially rejected by the NFL and took his talents to the backwoods of the Arena League, where he perfected his throwing motion, quick release and pinpoint accuracy as the starting quarterback of the Iowa Barnstormers. Warner took those attributes back to the NFL and retired three years ago as a Super Bowl champion and a future Hall-of-Famer.

"You hear people talk about what made me the player I was, they usually look at a couple of different things," Warner once told a reporter for ArenaFootball.com. "One is the quick release. The other is being able to diagnose defenses and accurately placing the football where I needed to put it. … I really think the AFL helped me develop those skills. You have less time in the pocket, the pocket is much smaller, it is a faster game and it is a shorter field. The windows are so tight you have to be accurate, you have to be able to anticipate and you have to be able to fit it into tight windows. Those things that are so pertinent in the AFL game, and it helped me be successful there and helped me be successful at the NFL level."

Now I ask you: What are the three weaknesses Tebow's critics always harp on when they talk about his inability to be an NFL quarterback? Answer: (1) Mechanics. (2) Slow release. (3) Lack of accuracy.

See where I'm going with this? If no NFL team is going to give Tebow a chance, what better place to work on improving those skills then right here in Orlando, where he already has his own training facility?

"Tim would certainly want to first exhaust his opportunities in the NFL, but we'd love to have him," Predators owner Brett Bouchy told me recently. "I think he would definitely improve as a quarterback in our league. Kurt Warner told me once that when he got back to the NFL after playing in the Arena League, the NFL game was like slow motion. Everything in the Arena League is just so much faster and quicker and predicated on accuracy. Whenever Tim is willing, we have a contract waiting for him to sign."

Now THAT would truly be a Tim Tebow Experience

mbianchi@tribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @BianchiWrites. Listen to his radio show every weekday from 6 to 9 a.m. on 740 AM.

 

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