The biggest lie circulating about Tim Tebow is not that he is selfish. It is that he cannot play.
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Says who? Jets coach Rex Ryan? ESPN talker Merril Hoge?
One is at the helm of the biggest hot mess going in the NFL at the moment, and the other has a thing for Tebow that feels almost uncomfortable. Hoge uses whatever Tebow does, from jogging shirtless to eating a hamburger from a non-grass-fed cow, as an opportunity to bash him as a failure without an ounce of football talent.
Hoge went all in on this recently, actually calling Tebow a "phony" because of talk he had asked out of a couple of Wildcat plays against San Diego and -- insert gasp -- asked to play quarterback. Like all things Tebow, this story has been blown into a bunch of reproducing 24-hour news cycles with little actual focus on facts.
"I never said, 'Hey, I don't want to do anything or I won't do anything,' " Tebow said. "That wasn't the talk at all. (Ryan) knows that, and everybody on this team knows that. I'd never not done something if I was asked, and I think that's what's disappointing about the whole situation, people saying, 'You quit,' or 'You didn't do this.' It was not it at all. It was just me asking to get an opportunity to play the position I love."
And this, somehow, is being used to call Tebow selfish.
A quick word on what I know to be true about being tagged selfish. The word tends to get thrown around when you are infringing on what another person has or what he wants to have. I also have no doubt Tebow is selfish. Almost every great athlete has some form of selfishness. One of the most selfish individuals I ever covered, Michael Irvin, was also one of the best players, teammates and leaders.
He demanded the ball. He always wanted more. He believed in himself.
He also went across the middle. He went to the really hard places on the field where he knew he was going to get hit. He came down with almost everything thrown in his direction. He was one of the last guys to leave the practice field. He helped younger guys.
Now the question about Tebow is whether he has football greatness in him to justify wanting to play quarterback. Or maybe that is not the question at all. Almost every defense I have read about Tebow rightly focuses on how the Jets screwed him while throwing in a disclaimer about how everybody knows he cannot play.
Again I ask: Says who?
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Jen Floyd Engel