JACKSONVILLE — At times during the past four months, the criticism of his ability to succeed in the NFL was so intense, former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow had to turn off his television.
"There's been a lot of motivation and a lot of reason for motivation; a lot of people telling me that I can't accomplish my dream," he said. "I just honestly appreciate it because it's going to make me work that much harder."
Tebow's work — and his NFL career — will begin with the Broncos.
The 2007 Heisman winner was taken 25th in Thursday's draft, stunning analysts who predicted he would not be a first-round selection. Denver, for whom Tebow worked out several times since January, including Monday, gave Baltimore a second-, third- and fourth-round pick to move up 18 spots and get Tebow.
Surrounded by family and friends at the Glen Kernan Golf and Country Club on Thursday night, Tebow said he would do everything possible to make sure the Broncos don't regret it.
"When I talked to Coach (Josh) McDaniels, he said, 'Promise me that same guy that we've been meeting with, that same work ethic, that same heart and determination, all those things we've seen, that's the same guy we're going to get,' " Tebow said. "I promised him that."
Florida coach Urban Meyer spoke with Tebow by phone shortly after he was drafted. Meyer is friends with McDaniels and assured Tebow he was going to be in a good situation.
"I'm sure Tim and his family are glad the process is over," Meyer said. "The Denver Broncos are getting a winner. Tim will show on the field what he is capable of doing. And more than anything, Tim has a competitive fire that will constantly push him to get better and do whatever he can to help his team win."
Tebow's first NFL game will be Sept. 12 in his hometown of Jacksonville against the Jaguars. The Jaguars passed on Tebow with the No. 10 pick, which Tebow said he didn't take personally.
"I had only met with them one time. And it was an interview at the combine," Tebow said. "I didn't really think they were that interested."
Tebow said while being a first-round pick was special, what means more to him is "to have a team really want me, to use a draft pick, to really want me, to believe in me so much they'll use a first-round pick."
Tebow said he is aware he's joining a franchise that produced a Hall of Fame quarterback but said he has no intention of trying to live up to any expectations — except his own.
"I'm not trying to live up to John Elway. I'm trying to live up to my expectations and Coach McDaniels' expectations," he said. "I don't have to go be like him. I have to be the best quarterback that Tim Tebow can be. I'm not trying to someone else."
Now the work begins. Tebow wouldn't have it any other way.
"A quote that I've always lived by, that's been at my door since I was 6 years old, is hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard," he said. "So every day, I'm trying to go out there and outwork everybody else. It doesn't matter if you're more talented and more blessed than me, I'm going to outwork you every day of the week."
Antonya English can be reached at email@example.com.
Pierre-Paul to Giants
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul goes 15th, the highest a USF player has ever gone. Other state picks, 5C
Times' Stephen F. Holder will provide commentary from One Buc Place beginning at 5:45 today at sports.tampabay.com.
Video: Times writers will analyze all the Bucs' draft picks at sports. tampabay.com.
Top 10 picks
No. 1 QB Sam Bradford, Rams
No. 2 DT Ndamukong Suh, Lions
No. 3 DT Gerald McCoy, Bucs
No. 4 OT Trent Williams, Redskins
No. 5 S Eric Berry, Chiefs
No. 6 OT Russell Okung, Seahawks
No. 7 CB Joe Haden, Browns
No. 8 LB Rolando McClain, Raiders
No. 9 RB C.J. Spiller, Bills
No. 10 DT Tyson Alualu, Jaguars
Full first round, 3C