Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

David Ramsey: John Elway discusses 'the stuff' that Tim Tebow and Colin Kaepernick share

April 2, 2018 Updated: April 3, 2018 at 11:43 am
0

John Elway was considering Colin Kaepernick's future when a name from Broncos past invaded the conversation.

“It’s like a Tebow situation, right?” Elway said.

Yes, it is. Tebow and Kaepernick are, at the same time, vastly different and deceptively similar. Both drew as much attention for their kneeling as they did for their quarterbacking. Tebow was kneeling in end zones to honor Jesus Christ, and Kaepernick was kneeling on sidelines to protest police violence.

Neither became a prototype NFL quarterback. Both are stupendously gifted runners and mediocre (in Kaepernick’s case) or far-less-than-mediocre (in Tebow’s case) passers. Their styles of play strayed far from the NFL norm, and they paid dearly for their straying.

Elway was recently talking about Case Keenum, the Broncos' new QB, when the conversation veered into the Kaepernick realm. A 30-year-old who carried the 49ers to two NFC title games and led them to a fourth-quarter lead in the Super Bowl is unemployed.

Why?

“Because it becomes more about everything else,” Elway said.

What Elway means is this:

NFL teams don’t want a circus to accompany a (probable) backup quarterback. The Tebow Circus shortened his career, and the much-larger and much more controversial Kaepernick Circus appears to have ended his career.

“Too bad for him,” Elway said of Kaepernick. “Teams aren’t afraid of him. They’re afraid of what it brings to the football team. And it’s unfortunate for him, but that’s the tough thing.

“All that stuff becomes the topic and it takes away from what you’re trying to do.”

If Aaron Rodgers suddenly decided to kneel during the national anthem, NFL owners would not banish him. He would remain a starter. His talent is immense enough that owners would defy angry fans.

Kaepernick is not deemed worthy of the hassle. He’s good, certainly good enough to labor as a backup and perhaps good enough to start for a QB-desperate team.

Tebow, too, ranked among the top 35 quarterbacks in the NFL, but his distinctive style demanded a specialized offense, and he became too outlandishly popular for his own good. The band of wildly enthusiastic Tebow believers, and they are legion, helped speed his NFL demise.

“All that stuff becomes the topic and it takes away from what you’re trying to do,” Elway said of Kaepernick’s and Tebow’s vastly different “stuff.”

I’ve been following the Broncos since the 1970s, and there’s been a procession of entertaining seasons and players. The Tebow storyline of 2011 ranks near the top of the list of thrills.

His comeback victories against the Jets and Bears inspired Mile High to quake – literally quake - at a level I’ve never heard before, or since. He played quarterback with the passionate and violent spirit of a linebacker. He was immensely fun to watch.

But he had a thorn in the flesh. His inaccurate left arm was exposed in his final three losses as starter, when he completed only 28 of 77 passes.

The Tebow Circus was fully on display at Peyton Manning’s introductory press conference. Tebow wasn’t there, but it seemed as if he were standing in the middle of the big room. Manning and Elway were asked, over and over, about Tebow, at the time scheduled to serve as backup to one of the NFL’s all-time top four or five quarterbacks.

Didn’t happen. Tebow was traded, and only threw another eight NFL passes.

Meanwhile, in the present, Kaepernick will probably never play in another NFL game.

Elway took care to say he likes Kaepernick. In the summer of 2016, just before anthem kneeling became a blazing national issue, Elway talked with Kaepernick about playing quarterback for the Broncos, but they clashed on cash.

“He’s a great kid,” Elway said. “I met with him twice. We just didn’t agree with where he was moneywise.”

Back then, Kaepernick looked on his way to another half-dozen seasons in the NFL.

And then the kneeling/circus began.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

or
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 
This is your last FREE article for the month
This is your last FREE article for the month

Subscribe now and enjoy Unlimited Digital Access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
You have reached your article limit for the month
You have reached your article limit for the month

We hope that you've enjoyed your complimentary access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 

Exclusive Subscriber Content

You read The Gazette because you care about your community and the local stories you can't find anywhere else.

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber? Get Access | Already a digital subscriber? Log In
 
articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.