Life has been a whirlwind for former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow ever since his team took down the Cincinnati Bearcats in the 2010 Sugar Bowl. From being the subject of a documentary to changing his mechanics and participating in both the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl and 2010 NFL Scouting Combine to making media appearances, hosting autograph signings and scheduling individual team workouts, Tebow has been on the move while trying to figure out where it is that he will actually move to on a more permanent basis in about a month’s time.
Saturday, Tebowmania took over Palm Beach County, as the Heisman Trophy winner and two-time National Champion participated in an autograph signing/charity event partially benefiting the Tim Tebow Foundation.
Read the rest of OGGOA’s meeting with Tim Tebow…after the break!
“We’re able to make a lot of people happy and sign things for them but also influence a lot of kids with the money that we raise,” Tebow said. “We’re partnering with orphanages around the world, we’re partnering with Boys and Girls Clubs, we’re partnering with the Brighter Day Foundation and several different things. So all the money is going back to the community and that’s making a lot of people happy. So I’m excited about that.”
Before shaking hands, signing autographs ($160) and taking pictures ($75) for the gathered crowd, Tebow met for an hour with members of the Special Olympics and their families in a private area.
“That was a lot of fun,” Tebow said. “[They were] all athletes in different types of sports, [and I got to] take pictures with them, sign things for them, hang out with them and make them feel important and make them feel special like they are. And that was fun. That was something that’s always been near and dear to my heart – its good just making people smile, doing something kind for them. So that was a lot of fun for me.”
Tebow’s first autograph session with Palm Beach Autographs, which took place in his hometown of Jacksonville, FL, lasted almost five hours as fans waited and waited for a chance to meet their hero. He stayed past his scheduled time, signing every ball and taking every picture so fans could experience what he once did as a child.
“I went to the fan day at Florida. We went one year and we couldn’t even get Danny [Wuerffel]’s autograph because the line was too long,” he recalled. “It was shut off before [we got there]. You’d wait there and you might get an autograph – might not. I remember we got Freddy T[aylor]’s, we got Reidel [Anthony], we got Ike [Hilliard], we got all the linemen because they were the easiest ones to get. I remember taking a picture with Jeff Mitchell and another one of the linemen when I was so small and they were so big. We still have that picture.”
His appearance Saturday was Tebow’s second in Palm Beach in three days as he was in town to speak at a Boy Scouts of America banquet Thursday. He returned to Gainesville, FL, on Friday to workout and spend some time with Gators head coach Urban Meyer. Asked how Meyer was feeling and dealing with recent stresses, Tebow gave a glowing prognosis.
“He’s doing good,” he said. “I got to spend time with him last night. He’s doing really good. He’s enjoying his team right now. He’s doing really well.”
Between his football duties and promotional appearances, Tebow has a lot on his plate. His going back-and-forth has left him with little time to continue improving his delivery, but he plans to go back and do just that before the draft.
“I’ve been gone for a while from [D1 Sports Training] for Pro Day and then workouts – I’ve been in Gainesville for those,” Tebow said. “I’m flying to several teams this week and then I’m flying back to Nashville for a few days and then flying to some more teams.”
Having signed with agent Jimmy Sexton, he has already done some work with Gatorade and is rumored to be the cover star for EA Sports‘ NCAA Football 11 video game. Hesitant at first to answer, Tebow said he has no long-term deals with either company in place, though he is certainly not opposed to them.
“[Laughing] Um…uh…It was more a one shot [deal] with Gatorade for right now. And EA, we’ll see,” he said. “Gatorade has a great product and they’ve always been great and great to me and where I’ve been.”
Part of the reason Tebow is so relaxed with being pulled in every which way is his comfort level with Sexton, who he said is similar to Meyer in that he knew from the get-go the two would have a good relationship.
“I connected with him, it fit. The best example is why I chose Florida – because coach Meyer, we’re so close. It was just a fit,” Tebow said. “You know it when you’re talking to them. You like talking to them. You like answering the phone when they call. It was just exciting. That’s the same as I felt with Jimmy. It’s been a great relationship. I’m close with him, I’m close with everybody that works for him. It’s just been fun, it’s been a great fit.”
The question now is who will draft Tebow and whether or not he will be attending the 2010 NFL Draft in person in New York, NY.
“There are some teams that definitely, when they’re around you, talk very positive around you,” he said. “But you never know what that means. It takes a lot of people to make those decisions so you never know what’s going to happen.
“Can I be with my family [at the draft] too? Is it going to be easy to be with everyone? Because that’s such a moment that will be exciting and special, so I don’t want to just celebrate that with people that I don’t really know and haven’t really been around just to be there in New York. I want to be around my close friends and my family. So if that’s something we can work out or not, I’ll probably be with my family. I think it’s also just figuring out what’s with my schedule and everything. But then also just being around my family and figuring out what would be fun and what would be the easiest, most relaxed, comfortable spot.”