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Florida Gators' QB Tim Tebow puts off decision on NFL draft

Florida’s Tim Tebow has submitted paperwork to the NFL draft advisory board, which will tell him when it believes the 2007 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback would be drafted. Ultimately, Tebow said he will decide with input from his family.

Associated Press

Florida’s Tim Tebow has submitted paperwork to the NFL draft advisory board, which will tell him when it believes the 2007 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback would be drafted. Ultimately, Tebow said he will decide with input from his family.

MIAMI — When the time comes for Tim Tebow to make a decision on returning to Florida for his senior season, coach Urban Meyer will do everything in his power to make sure the quarterback has all of the information he needs to make a rational one.

But he won't try to talk Tebow into staying.

"Absolutely not," Meyer said Wednesday. "I'd put him on the phone with the right people and lay it all on the table and have his mother, father — and if he wants a brother there — but no one else."

Tebow, 21, is among a handful of Florida underclassmen, including receiver/running back Percy Harvin and linebacker Brandon Spikes, who will have to decide by Jan. 15 whether to enter April's NFL draft.

Tebow has submitted paperwork to the NFL draft advisory committee to get an indication of when he would be taken but insisted this week he's not concerned about the future.

"I'm not even thinking about that right now," he said. "My only focus is trying to lead my team to a national championship. I'll sit down with my family after the game and make a decision then."

Much of Tebow's decision will likely hinge on his draft status. Several analysts, including ESPN's Mel Kiper, have questioned whether the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Tebow can be a successful NFL quarterback.

But opinions vary.

"I know a lot of people are projecting him possibly being at another position and if he is a quarterback possibly not being a first-rounder," said Jimmy Johnson, a former college and NFL coach and current analyst for Fox.

"But he's got the arm strength. He makes accurate throws. We all know he's a tremendous competitor and has a great passion for the game and, obviously, has a physical presence. Again, the more you watch him, the more you get to believe, 'Hey, this guy can be an NFL quarterback.' "

Barry Switzer, another former college and pro coach and current Fox analyst, said only time will tell.

"He'll be given the opportunity, and we'll find out down the road," he said. "People questioned if Vince Young — I questioned him myself — if he could play in the NFL, if he could make the throws he'd need to make in the NFL. He's struggling. We'll find out if (Tebow) can do that.

"I think (Tebow has) a better arm, better delivery and throws a good ball. He just plays a different style. He's an old single-wing tailback. He's a throwback guy. … He presents a hell of a problem for defenses."

Tebow's teammates hope the lure of the NFL isn't too strong. Offensive lineman Mike Pouncey said he has "begged" Tebow to stay and if he were a betting man, his money would be on Tebow returning next season.

"I don't know why he would (leave)," Pouncey said. "Everybody loves him in college football. It would be hard for him to leave all that."

Fifth-year senior offensive lineman Phil Trautwein broke his foot during preseason of his senior year and spent 15 months getting back onto the field but has no regrets.

His advice for Tebow? Stay.

"I'd rather be here than in the NFL," Trautwein said. "Money doesn't really mean much. Winning another national championship means more than anything.

"I'd tell him that right now if he was (standing) here."

Times staff writer Brian Landman contributed to this report. Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com.

Florida Gators' QB Tim Tebow puts off decision on NFL draft 01/07/09 [Last modified: Friday, January 9, 2009 9:35am]
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