NIU graduate and Heisman finalist Jordan Lynch didn’t get drafted, but it didn’t take long for him to find a team. The Chicago Bears wanted him and pushed hard to get him, so the 23-year old quarterback signed with his hometown team. There was just one catch. He had to switch to running back.
Stop if you’ve heard this before. An option quarterback who dominated college football turning pro and being told his best hope is to switch positions. That is the Tim Tebow argument in a nutshell. The two-time national champion and 2007 Heisman winner was a first round pick of Denver in 2010 and immediately drew doubters about his ability to play quarterback. For a time he kept them quiet when he helped the Broncos reach the playoffs in 2011 but anybody who watched saw it was mostly due to his legs and a strong effort by the defense. Tebow never became a consistent passer and was eventually traded to the Jets, who cut him after one season. After a brief stint with the New England Patriots he was cut again. Tebowmania has not gotten a sniff of the NFL since. Why? One could say teams are tired of the hoopla and don’t want to deal with the media circus that would inevitably follow but the truth of the matter is it all rests on Tebow himself. The former Florida star remains steadfast in his desire to play quarterback and believes a team will eventually give him a shot. A position switch is not an option. That might explain why he retired in December of last year at 26-years old.
Seeing that makes one question. Is it relentless pursuit of a dream that forced Tim Tebow into his decision, or simple ego? Having experienced so much success at quarterback for Florida and his miracle run with the Broncos, it’s easy to see why he thinks he can play the position. However, if he were truly intent on making it as a pro football player he is the kind of athlete who could switch to another position such as running back or even tight end. Yet he has no desire for that. Meanwhile Jordan Lynch, who plays a very similar style of game that made Tebow famous never once hesitated. He listened to those around him that the reality is his best chance to play in the NFL is at another position. The Chicago Bears made it clear they would give him ample opportunity as a running back and he took it. Just like that. So what makes Lynch different from Tebow?
There are a number of opinions that could be stated on that subject but if one looks deep into the situation? It’s simple love for the game. If Tim Tebow loved the game of football as much as he proclaims, he would do whatever it takes to play on Sundays even if it meant trying out as a long snapper. Instead he steadfastly announced it was quarterback or nothing. On the other hand Lynch didn’t let his success at Northern Illinois cloud him from the truth. It doesn’t matter what he wants to do. It matters what the coaches want him to do. Only one out of several teams saw him as a quarterback in the NFL, which isn’t a rousing show of support. The Bears wanted him because they envisioned his value as an offensive weapon, even if that meant not playing quarterback. So now Jordan Lynch is preparing to step onto a pro football field to live his dream. Tebow has a head start on a life in a broadcast booth.
It’s amazing what denying or embracing change can do to a career.