December 17, 2011

Tebow: Heaven sent?

Tim Tebow's faith has played a large role in shaping his confidence on the football field.

By ARNIE STAPLETON The Associated Press

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Tim Tebow
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Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow isn’t shy about expressing his faith, saying it’s “part of who you are, as a person, as a player, in your life and everything.”

The Associated Press


Was the first Heisman Trophy winner who was home-schooled

Born in the Philippines on Aug. 14, 1987, where his parents were working as missionaries

The NCAA instituted the "Tebow Rule," banning messages on eye paint for his Bible passages.

In 2009, he stated publicly that he was a virgin and would stay that way until he married.

TODAY'S GAME: Patriots at Broncos, 4:15 p.m., Channel 13

"I don't understand why it's such a big deal. Tebow, he's not the first one, Reggie White, Irving Fryar, there are many guys who have lived their lives with outside faith. But for whatever reason, Tim gets so much grief now. To this day, I don't understand it. Football is what we do, not who we are."

Tebow, who sometimes sings hymns as he runs onto the football field to stay calm in crunch time, said he can't compartmentalize his faith because it's such an integral part of who he is.

"Unfortunately, a lot of people do, but what I feel is living your faith and being genuine is in everything you do and that's football, that's life," Tebow said.

So, he's not going to stop praying on the field or praising God in public, even if some find it offensive.

Whether or not his teammates share in his tenets, there's no denying he's inspiring them.

"He had everybody listening" when he spoke about the Proverbs, linebacker Wesley Woodyard said. "Just to see him get up there and talk and believe in himself, that's something that spreads throughout the whole team. He believes in himself, so we believe in him."

Before a game against the Jets last month, Tebow approached Woodyard and cornerback Champ Bailey, among others, to share his faith.

"He said God just came and told him to just make sure that he spreads the word and tell everybody, don't worry about a thing and at the end of the day give credit to God," Woodyard recounted.

"Probably if anything I said, 'Don't worry. There's a plan for whatever. Let's go and give our heart out and be the same no matter what. Let's give God the glory win or lose and go lay our hearts on the line,"' Tebow said. "That's usually what I most often say, something like that."

It's not like Tebow is proselytizing, inducing others to convert to his faith, his teammates say.

"The thing about Tim, I respect him, because he's never pushed his religion off on anybody," Woodyard said. "He just goes out there and believes in God himself and shows it every day."

Randall Cunningham, also a mobile quarterback who regularly expressed his religious views during his playing career, said many people criticize Christians for being hypocrites, and maybe expect Tebow to fall from grace.

"But I'm going to tell you something, that kid is not a hypocrite," Cunningham said. "... I watch him. He cares about his team, he cares about the fans, he cares about the game, he cares about success and he knows that he can do all things through Christ, and that's what he does and that's why he wins."

Indeed, Cunningham said he thinks the Broncos wouldn't have won seven of eight under another quarterback.

"God's hand is on him. Because he's trusting God, I believe that God honors his faith," Cunningham said.

"The Bible says that God chose the lowly things of this world, that's what everybody says about him, that he's not a good quarterback, he's not this and he's not that. And then what does God do? He proves everybody wrong. Through this young, 24-year-old kid, in front of the world, God uses him. That is a powerful, powerful man of God right there."


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