Here's What Charles Barkley Said About Tim Tebow's NFL Comeback Attempt
By Jason Hall
May 26, 2021
Two-time Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley is cheering for Tim Tebow to make a successful NFL comeback with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but acknowledges the difficult road ahead for the quarterback turned tight end.
Barkley, who was recently inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame a second time for his contributions as an analyst on Inside the NBA, addressed Tebow -- a fellow SEC legend and broadcaster -- attempting to return to football during an appearance on ESPN Chicago's Waddle and Silvy radio program.
"I think it's going to be very difficult for him to just pick up football, another position," Barkley said. "Tim's such a good dude, but you know, a lot of people don't like Tim because his religion. He wears it on his sleeve. I don't care about that. I like the kid, but I don't think he can just come pick up another position."
Barkley compared Tebow's sudden transition to the tight end position to friend and fellow NBA legend Michael Jordan's decision to play baseball after his initial retirement from basketball in 1993.
"I think he'll just be disrespectful to jocks saying, 'Oh I haven't played football, but I can come and be a pro at it.' I just think that's impossible, personally," Barkley said.
"Michael Jordan tried, he tried to play baseball. You can't just go play a pro sport."
ESPN reports the former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback signed a one-year contract Thursday (May 20) morning and will be on the field for the Jaguars' offseason program to compete for a roster spot at the tight end position.
"I want to thank the Jaguars for the opportunity to compete and earn the chance to be part of this team," Tebow said in a statement. "I know it will be a challenge, but it is a challenge I embrace. I am dedicated to taking the direction of our coaching staff and learning from my teammates. I appreciate everyone's support as I embark on this new journey."
Earlier this month, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Jacksonville Jaguars was planning to sign Tebow as a tight end to a one-year deal.
"The #Jaguars are planning to sign QB-turned-TE Tim Tebow to a 1-year deal, per me and @TomPelissero, a deal that could be official in the next week or so. Nothing done yet. But he’ll have a chance to make the team to reunite with his mentor and college head coach Urban Meyer."
The #Jaguars are planning to sign QB-turned-TE Tim Tebow to a 1-year deal, per me and @TomPelissero, a deal that could be official in the next week or so. Nothing done yet. But he’ll have a chance to make the team to reunite with his mentor and college head coach Urban Meyer.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 10, 2021
Rapoport initially reported Tebow recently participated in a workout for his hometown team prior to the 2021 NFL Draft.
Rapoport reiterated that Tebow's potential role would be "more so than tight end...think Taysom Hill," comparing it to the backup quarterback who has played multiple offensive positions for the New Orleans Saints.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports Tebow reached out to the Jaguars and requested the tryout from the position many believed would have extended his NFL career.
Tebow, whose size and athleticism dominated collegiate defenses, refused to make the switch to the tight end position after being selected by the Denver Broncos in the first-round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
The two-time national champion led the Broncos to a 7-4 record in 11 regular season starts and a playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers during his second season, but was released the following offseason after Denver signed Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Peyton Manning as a free agent.
Tebow made sporadic appearances for the New York Jets the following season before once again being released. He then made several preseason appearances for the New England Patriots in 2013 and Philadelphia Eagles in 2015, while balancing his broadcasting career with the SEC Network.
Tebow announced his pursuit of a Major League Baseball career in August 2016 and was invited to the New York Mets' spring training roster multiple times, but ultimately made his highest regular season appearance for the organization in AAA during the 2019 season.
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