Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow fired back at his detractors Thursday, saying criticism over his NFL potential was unwarranted and that none of the resulting distractions will be a deterrent. In the face of perceived setbacks for a former first-round draft pick, Tebow stood steadfast during an interview with The Denver Post.
“I’m trying to insulate myself from what people in the media are saying, but I’ve seen some of it, and it hurts because it’s coming from people who haven’t seen me practice, haven’t seen me play, haven’t seen what I can do,” Tebow told the newspaper.
“I did an interview the other day with someone on the NFL Network who said last year I’d never play a down in the NFL. He was wrong. “Others who say I won’t make it are wrong. They don’t know what I’m capable of and what’s inside me. My family and my friends have been bothered by what’s gone on, and I tell them to pay no attention to it. I’m relying as always on my faith.”
It’s been a rough week for Tebow. ESPN NFL analyst Merril Hoge said on Twitter that “it’s embarrassing to think the broncos could win with tebow.” Tebow was reminded of the NFL Network prediction that he’d never play a down as a pro, and he continued to practice with the reserves at training camp, despite starting the final three games for Denver last season, but Tebow vowed to emerge a better quarterback. “I’ll always use the negativity as more motivation to work even harder and become even stronger,” Tebow told The Denver Post Thursday.
“I’ll practice as good as I can, but I know that I play even better, with the qualities I have — leadership, my ability to make something happen in games, winning. “And I know there are a lot of people who believe in me as a player and a person, and I don’t want to let them down.”
On Wednesday, after taking to Twitter, Hoge offered a scathing on-air critique of Tebow’s skill set and how it translates to the NFL. “He is awful as far as accuracy goes and what’s kind of even more disturbing, he’s probably worse moving and running around with the football and throwing than he is from the pocket,” Hoge said on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” “Can you get better there? A little bit. If everything is perfect, the pocket, your feet are good, all your fundamentals come into place, the coverage is what you want it, you can be successful. But that doesn’t happen at the National Football League. Rarely does that happen.”
Hoge also appeared Thursday on ESPN’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning,” saying: “They think it’s a personal attack. It’s purely a football evaluation … I never said he’s a bad guy. In fact, I know he’s a great guy. I’ve met him. It’s a football evaluation based on over 25 years of studying this league, working in this league.”