Jaguars owner 'fascinated' with fans wanting Tebow in Jacksonville

There was a time when Jaguars owner Shahid Khan wanted Tim Tebow. (USATSI)
Tim Tebow would probably love to get his hands on a time machine, go back to March 2012, and green-light that trade that would've sent him from Denver to his hometown of Jacksonville. Instead, Tebow nixed the Jaguars deal and opted for the bright lights and big stage of New York City.

That, it turns out, was an unmitigated disaster and 14 months later, Tebow is a free agent looking for a home.

Jaguars owner Shahid Khan still hears from fans who want Tebow back in Jacksonville. Unfortunately, for the former Heisman Trophy winner, that ship has sailed. In January, new Jags general manager David Caldwell was unequivocal when speaking of Tebow's future in Jacksonville, telling the media, "I can't imagine a scenario where Tim Tebow would be a Jacksonville Jaguar. Even if he's released."

On Tuesday, Khan was asked about the short-lived petition that urged President Obama to force the Jaguars to sign Tebow.

“It’s a free country,” the owner said Tuesday from the NFL's Career Development Symposium in Philadelphia (via the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta). “You got a democracy. So people have a right to express themselves.”

And like the rest of us, Khan is intrigued by Tebowmania, particularly as it relates to the Jaguars.

"We’re looking for the best players obviously for us that help us win,” Khan said. “How many players are in the NFL? I would assume it’s 90 times 32 at this point, right? So, ballpark about 3,000 players, correct? Why one player? … Why do you ask about one player? What about the other 2,999? Because I’m fascinated with that.”

But in March 2012, not long after Khan had bought the team, he too was fascinated with the idea of Tebow. So much so, in fact, that he was willing to send the Broncos a third-round pick -- except that Tebow had designs on joining the Jets.

"He didn't want to come, obviously," Khan said at the time. … "Any one of the 53 players we have, have to be committed to Jacksonville, making us be the best team we are. The question was: Did he want to come? And if the decision had been taken out [of his hands] and we got him, that would not be good for him, or for us. …

"In a way, this turned out great," Khan continued. "If he doesn't want to come, here we would have blown through a draft pick, blown through money, because cash and salary cap, you've blown through all that and we have a player who doesn't want to be there. From their viewpoint that is a far, far better alternative."

And now, the Jags are moving forward with 2011 first-rounder Blaine Gabbert.

“We’re doing everything to support him,” the owner said of his third-year quarterback. “I think if you look at our draft … offensive line … We’re doing everything to give him every opportunity to be successful.”

And Tebow, meanwhile, continues to look for work.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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