THE CIRCUS RETURNS TO JACKSONVILLE

THE CIRCUS RETURNS TO JACKSONVILLE

Gary Norris Gray-BASN Staff Reporter

TIM TEBOW

Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow will now be forever linked in professional football history and the circus has just begun in Florida. Meyer, new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars wants to change the lingering losing culture of the Jaguar locker-room. Meyer wants his former University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow to help him make this change. There only one problem with this episode Mr. Tebow has been out of football for eight years.

The Jacksonville Jaguars signed Tim Tebow to a one- year contract on May 20th 2021, almost eight years after Mr. Tebow’s last snap from center; a contract in which he will be playing tight end, a position that he took only one snap in his football career.

African American players are accustomed to being asked to change positions. At the core of this discussion is a racial connotation. Across all sports, minority players often get moved to less-central positions. Black leadership is still being questioned. In football, it means Black quarterbacks getting moved to running back, defensive back, or wide receiver at a disproportionate rate vs. their white counterparts. This switching happens every year without fanfare. Black middle linebackers being moved to defensive ends or Black centers being moved to offensive linebacker to defuse Black leadership on the field, Tim Tebow is taking advantage of this.

The Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) and the National Football League (NFL) Network are now giving sports fans all the statistical reasons and positive spin for Tebow’s return to the game. The guy on the white horse will save the last place Jacksonville Jaguars. It does not make football sense no matter how you present this. The Jag circus will go forth in Northern Florida.

It is another year former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick will not be on the field this speaks volumes on the continuing racial inequities in the National Football League. Urban Meyer wants Tebow to be a team leader but he has yet had any discussions with present team leadership. Meyer wants Tebow to be team captain in the locker-room and he has yet to wear a Jacksonville uniform. Meyer is happy with this choice because Tebow looks like him. How about this? Instead of being the coach’s insider, hire Tebow to their coaching staff. This move could still divide the team but it sure looks better. 

The shadow of former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick continues to loom large as teams continue to ignore this two time National Football Conference Champion. This was just another issue number seven was bringing forth, six years ago.  

Tebow was a first round draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 2010. He later played for the New York Jets before trying baseball with the New York Mets. He did not make it there either coming to the Big Apple only once in his baseball career.

The only player to ever come back to the National Football League after eight years would be Doug Flutie of the New England Patriots. The difference here is Flutie played football eight years in the Canadian Football League and won League titles. Tim Tebow was swinging a bat and catching baseballs in the Mets farm team organizations those missing eight years. This is a very bad choice for the Jaguars for so many reasons.

Here are some of the reasons why this signing is very troubling.

First, Urban Frank Meyer III was hired as head coach in Jacksonville after his college stints at the Ohio State University and another at the University of Florida. Mr. Meyer and Mr. Tebow know each other and are best buddies. It smells like the old boy network in play here and no-matter how bad Mr. Tebow plays he will be paid for his limited services. Meyer also has to know that he is coaching men and not boys and he cannot pull on that General Meyer stuff in Jacksonville. The team will shut down and walk out on him, especially the Black players. Just ask former New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin after he tried his Marine Corps tactics. Just ask Alabama head coach Nick Saban who tried this in Miami with the Dolphins, how did former University of Oregon head coach Chip Kelly make out with the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco, it does not work and Meyer will find out the hard way. The only college coach in the past 30 years with a winning record would be Jim Harbaugh-San Francisco 44-19-1 and that did not end well in the Bay Area either.

Second, It is Tim Tebows fault because he did not want to switch position from quarterback when asked ten years ago. He played his privilege card and it worked. Mr. Tebow wanted to be quarterback because that’s what he thought he could play best and he was not going to switch for any team.

Question, growing up in high school and college athletes were taught to all work together to make the team a better team? Most athletes are told best man up, next man in. Tim Tebow actions fly in the face of this sports motto. Tebow is trying to break this mold.

It is very interesting that Black College quarterbacks are often requested to change position or share time to make their team better. SACRIFICE something white quarterbacks are seldom or never asked to do. Tim Tebow knows and understands this and has used it this year to his advantage. In the past two and half years it’s been 32 Black players that have been switched out of the quarterback position.

Do these names sound familiar, Hines Ward-Georgia, Anquan Boldin-Florida State, and Curtis Conway-University of Southern California? These are a few. All three were asked to switch position in the middle of their college careers. They broke high school quarterback records in their respective states.

Braxton Miller – Ohio State, Randall Cobb-Kentucky, Joe Webb-UAB, Blake Bell-Oklahoma, Michael Robinson-Penn State and Matt Jones-Ark continued the trend.

Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor lingered on the bench as a backup quarterback until his fifth season in the NFL when he switched to wide receiver and became the Cleveland Browns number one option.

Third, the tight end is supposed to help the offensive line blocking, keeping the starting quarterback standing upright. The Jacksonville Jaguars had the number one draft choice in Clemson starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence with Mr. Tebow at tight end, this becomes a liability. This becomes a risk all year long. Question, does Tim Tebow have the blocking skills to keep Lawrence safe? Trevor Lawrence is the gold nugget for the Jacksonville Jaguars he must be protected.

Fourth, is the physical condition or lack of condition to come back successfully and completely fulfill the task at hand. Question, is Tim Tebow mentally prepared to play at the NFL level in a new position? Can Tebow run block on running plays and pass protect on passing plays?

Do you remember a player with the Pittsburgh Steelers called Slash? That was Kordell Stewart who guided the Black and Gold to winning seasons and the playoffs. But he was never given the chance to lead a full year at quarterback. He was a running back, wide receiver, tight end, and on the punt team. This cut his practice time with quarterback repetitions and eventually cost him his starting job behind center. Stewart was the first one in a never-ending line of Black quarterbacks not given the chance to lead their teams.

The so called progressive Oakland Raiders did likewise with Tennessee State graduate Eldridge Reno Dickey who was the first African American quarterback drafted in 1968 in the first round. Dickey never played a down at quarterback for the Black and Silver he became a star at wide receiver.

Some old football gurus state having a starting position is better than having their job taken away like Joseph Wiley “Jefferson Street Joe” Gilliam who as 4-1-1 before Terry Bradshaw ripped the quarterback position from Gilliam in Pittsburg. With that 4-1-1 Gilliam start the Steelers went on to the Super Bowl.

The (AFL) American Football League moved light years ahead of the National Football League in the 1960’s when it came to signing Black players; the Denver Broncos signed Marlin Briscoe to rookie camp at the quarterback position. Briscoe would become the first modern day starting Black quarterback. It did not last long. Within two years the Broncos drafted two more quarterbacks and traded Marlin to Buffalo. The Bills then had veteran Jack Kemp at quarterback. Marlin could see the writing on the wall and if he wanted to play, Briscoe would have to changed positions to have a starting job. This man played in the Pro Bowl and won the Super Bowl in Miami at Wide receiver.  

Many state there are enough Black quarterbacks in the league of 32 teams with current stars K.C.’s Patrick Mahomes, Seattle’s Russell Wilson, Houston’s Deshaun Watson, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, Arizona’s Kyler Murray, and Dallas Dak Prescott. Why should there be a quota or limit? What if the NFL instituted a Rooney Rule for quarterbacks? We all know what would happen white quarterbacks would rebel? The sports motto of best man up is being challenged by head coach Meyer and Tim Tebow. It is also being challenged with the new mobile Black quarterback on the field.

This is the legacy of the Black quarterback and this is why the Tim Tebow signing creates so much emotion, another roster spot taken away without competition.

Tebow is 33 years old taking a roster spot of a younger player with experience, a player that has played the position and understands the blocking schemes. It will take months for Tebow to understand and use these tight end blocking skills..

Fifth, What Meyer, Tebow, and the National Football League continue to tell America it’s all about the Benjamin’s (MONEY). As of May 21st Tim Tebow football gear is the number one selling product in sports stores all over the country. America must have its white hero, its white leader on that white horse. HELLO, do you remember Johnny Manzel? His number 2 Cleveland Brown jersey was also number one the first months of Manzel’s rookie season.

Case closed.

Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian, Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston, Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor News Radio Network, Disabled Community Activist. Email glcgray@gmail.com

©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod

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