Time has apparently not quelled Tim Tebow's popularity. Known as "Tebow mania" during his short-lived run with the Broncos, Tebow's recent signing with the Jaguars has created a similar buzz, as the 33-year-old former quarterback looks to make Jacksonville's 53-man roster as a tight end.
How popular is Tebow? Roughly 24 hours after his signing was official, Tebow had the top five selling items on NFLShop.com, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Tebow, who wore No. 15 at Florida and during his time as an NFL quarterback, is wearing No. 85 for the Jaguars (at least for now, as that could change).
The big question is whether or not Tebow will be wearing his jersey when the Jaguars face the Texans in Week 1. While Tebow has plenty of detractors, Mike Ditka, a Hall of Fame tight end who later coached the Bears to the franchise's only Super Bowl win, believes that Tebow has the tools to succeed as a tight end in today's NFL.
Tim Tebow is officially a Jacksonville Jaguar and will be wearing the No. 85 jersey. Here's where you can purchase a Tebow jersey.
"The tight end today, they don't call on them to do a whole heck of a lot of blocking anymore," Ditka recently told USA Today's Jarrett Bell. "He's basically a receiver. So I think Tebow would be very, very capable and will probably do a good job in that area. I don't see any problem with it.
"Now, if it was the tight end of 20 years ago where you had to block defensive ends, I think it's a bit different. But they don't have to do that anymore. They flank 'em out there, split 'em out five yards and they run routes. He's a good enough athlete where he can beat those guys in the secondary. And I think he'll be a darned good one."
Given his history with Jaguars coach Urban Meyer, it's safe to say that Tebow will be given every opportunity to make the team's 53-man roster. Meyer, who won two national championships with Tebow, decided to give his former quarterback a shot after Tebow had two separate workouts with the Jaguars.
"He was in the best shape of his life, asked to see if he could workout with a couple of our coaches," Meyer said just prior to signing Tebow, via the Huffington Post. "I wasn't even there. They came back to me and said, 'Wow, this guy's in incredible shape.' Then, I went another time and watched them try him out. And they said go work on these things. He comes back later, they try him out again — I'm not there ― they come in and they said, 'Wow, this guy's ball skills, he's a great athlete, he looks like he's 18 years old, not … 33.' I said, 'Guys you don't understand, now this guy is the most competitive maniac you're ever gonna talk to and let's give it a shot.'"