Tim Tebow says he can still be an effective quarterback in the NFL

Tim Tebow hasn't taken a regular-season snap since 2012. And while he was with the Eagles last offseason -- and even scored a preseason touchdown -- he was released before the 2015 season.

Still, the former Heisman Trophy winner is as popular as ever -- even if his professional football career appears to be in the rearview. Of course, that doesn't preclude the inevitable "So, when are you returning to the NFL?" questions every time he speaks publicly.

This week, Tebow joined CBS Sports Radio's Doug Gottlieb, who got right down to business.

Gottlieb: If a team calls you right now and says "We need you in camp tomorrow" do you go?

Tebow: (laughing) I gotta look at it, I gotta figure out the situation. Not necessarily be opposed to it but you never know.

Tebow was an outstanding college player, but those talents never fully translated to the NFL. But at 28, he's still young -- and obviously very competitive -- prompting Gottlieb to ask, "Do you still have football in you?"

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Tim Tebow hasn't taken a regular-season snap since 2012. Getty Images

"I mean, for me, I'm in the best shape I've ever been in," Tebow said. "I'm still young, I still feel really good. So is that something that I feel like I can be an effective quarterback in the NFL? Yeah, I really do feel like I could be. But I think at the same time, there are a lot of other things that I'm doing that I love and that I'm blessed to do.

"Whether that's being part of college football, whether that's -- I just wrote another book -- whether that's what my foundation is doing in 16 countries," he continued. "I'm extremely busy doing a lot of things I love to do. Football is just one thing that I love to do. But it can't become your everything because eventually you're not going to be able to play, whether that's today or five years from now. And if it's your everything, when you're done what do you do?"

It's a good question, one many young players are dealing with as they retire from the game, mostly for health-related reasons, and for some, while they're still in their prime.

It also explains why Tebow isn't interested in returning to the NFL at any cost. Since he came into the league in 2010, there were never-ending conversations about him switching positions. He says that was never a consideration.

"I think that's one that's really important is life is that we pursue our passions," Tebow told Larry King last month. "You pursue what's on your heart, you pursue what you're passionate about. And for me, the game of football is the position of quarterback. I've loved it since I was little boy, looking up to Danny Wuerffel when he was at the University of Florida.

'You don't do things necessarily because other people want you to. You do what's on your heart, what you're passionate about, and that's something that I've really always tried to do."

Put another way: Tebow isn't closing the door on a return to the NFL but it will take an extraordinary series of events to get him back on the field.

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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