Will Tim Tebow make the 53-man roster in Jacksonville?
Now that tight end Tim Tebow has gained a spot on Jacksonville’s 90-man roster a week before Memorial Day, the next question becomes whether, as of Labor Day, he’ll land on the 53-man roster.
As one team source recently characterized it, there’s less than a 50-percent chance of that happening. Those odds are still a lot better than they’d be for the usual last man in.
The Jaguars currently have five other tight ends on the team. How many will he have to leapfrog to make the team? Two? Three?
The more likely scenario (unless Tebow decides on his own to step away) would be that the Jaguars release Tebow and then re-sign him to the practice squad. Given that every team can call up two practice-squad players every week to the game-day roster, Tebow could still end up in uniform and, potentially, on the field.
That likely would consist of playing special teams, with something more substantial than personal protector for the punter. Kickoff team, kick return unit, punt return, etc.
However it plays out, the same man who ultimately deemed Tebow worthy of a roster spot will be the one who ultimately decides Tebow’s fate come September. And to the extent that it’s a minor league baseball-style gimmick for Tebow to be on the roster in the first place, why would that gimmick end when the preseason does?
At some point, Tebow will have to demonstrate some degree of objective football competence. If every pass route he runs ends with the ball ricocheting off his helmet, even the most ardent Tebowmaniacs eventually will cease their suspension of disbelief. That’s when Tebow would be given a chance to “retire” from football, and then possibly to join the team in some non-playing capacity.
If Tebow can do just enough to pass the eyeball test, that’s when the bobbleheads and other baubles bearing Tebow’s name will be for sale — and when Tebow will become an official member of the team, even if it’s just on the practice squad from Monday through Saturday.
And in uniform on Sunday.