Is Tim Tebow's throwing accuracy really what's keeping him from moving on in the National Football League — or are his religion and the public media that follows the former Heisman Trophy winner keeping coaches from signing him on?
The New York Jets released Tebow last month, following growing concerns that the publicly popular quarterback wasn't ready for prime time in the NFL.
But unlike other star quarterbacks in the same position, the 2010 first round-draft pick has yet to be recruited, even as a back-up, by any other team.
Now even critics of Tebow's style are openly questioning whether his religious views and popularity among fans are responsible for hampering his progress.
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"As much as prospective employers are wary of Tebow's flawed mechanics, much-maligned throwing motion or deficiencies when it comes to reading defenses, the incessant media and fan attention that accompanies his presence on the depth chart is an even bigger concern," writes Yahoo! Sports
football expert Michael Silver.
Silver, who has criticized Tebow in the past, said he can't understand why no team will even give him a chance. The only reason, he believes, is because of his huge following off the field.
"Against all odds, I'm starting to wonder whether the man who helped the Denver Broncos become one of the league's most stunning success stories in 2011 is getting unjustly blackballed," Silver wrote.
One unidentified head coach told Silver, "He seems like a great guy to have on a team, and I'd be tempted to bring him in as our backup. But it's just not worth dealing with all the stuff that comes with it."
ESPN earlier reported that Tebow has worked on his throwing technique with former NFL quarterbacks Vinnie Testaverde and Chris Weinke. Testaverde said the problem was in Tebow's footwork and they have now worked out the glitch.
"His throwing motion is now a non-issue," Testaverde told ESPN. "He throws with what we call 'effortless power.' He doesn't have that elongated motion anymore and his head isn't moving two-and-a-half feet when he throws it."
Tebow has had a tremendous start to his NFL career in Denver, where he'd openly praise God after completing key plays. However, the Broncos traded him after just one season when they landed Peyton Manning, despite Tebow's star turns which pushed the team into the second round of the playoffs.
He was quickly snapped up by the New York Jets, but he got little playing time and was released last month, and so far no other team has shown interest in acquiring him.
Tebow's huge fan base is pushing for him to be hired and increasingly accuses teams of turning away from him star because of his deep religious convictions.
"Sadly, the persecution complex shared by so many of Tebow's fervent supporters seems to have become a self-fulfilling prophecy," said Silver.
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