The Denver Broncos will pick up quarterback Peyton Manning and trade Tim Tebow, ESPN reports.
On March 7, the Indianapolis Colts released Manning after the quarterback had sat out a season due to neck injuries. He is expected to sign a $95 million contract with the Broncos, essentially pushing out Tebow, an outspoken Christian athlete who has attracted scrutiny for his faith and football.
Tebow began starting as the Broncos' quarterback last season, pulling off late-game wins that made him one of the most talked-about athletes. Denver went 2-4 in 2011 before Tebow started and went 9-5 after he took the helm. Tebow's visible expression of faith became the internet meme "Tebowing," to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different.
CT interviewed Tebow last year about faith, football and fame. Former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner suggested that Tebow might consider toning his faith talk down. And Ted Kluck warned fans not to hold Tebow up on a pedestal. CT's April issue looks at several Christian athletes under the recent spotlight, including Tebow, NBA player Jeremy Lin, and MLB player Albert Pujols.
Update on 3/21:
Tebow was traded to the New York Jets, Jay Glazer is reporting. ESPN's Rich Cimini argues that the trade could set off a controversy for the Jets, who gave Sanchez a three-year, $40.5 million contract extension. Last season, Tebow completed just 46.5 percent of his throws, but Sanchez also struggled, fueling speculation about his future, Cimini writes.
There's also some thought that Tebow and his clean-cut image could help polish the negative perception of the locker room, torn by discord last season. But others close to the team said that was no factor whatsoever in the decision.
But there could be potential backlash for the Jets. Tebow's enormous popularity could turn into a distraction, especially for Sanchez. If Sanchez struggles, the fan base ostensibly could turn on him and start clamoring for Tebow.
In other NFL news today, league announced penalties on the Saints' management for its bounty programs, under the table payments for big hits and plays. Saints head coach Sean Payton will be suspended for a year, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is suspended indefinitely from the NFL, and the team will be fined $500,000, among other penalties.
Update 2:30 p.m.:
Adam Schefter is reporting the trade could be nullified: "Denver and Jets have encountered hangup in language in Tim Tebow's contract that could nullify trade.
(2) If the Tebow trade to Jets falls apart, St. Louis could wind up getting back into play. Sides sorting through details.
Tim Tebow has $5 million worth of recapture language, meaning Jets would have to pay back money to Denver. Jets might be unwilling. Complex."
Update 2/22: ESPN reports that Tebow will be traded to the Jets after a few hangups.
Pat Robertson weighed in on the trade, suggesting that "it would serve [the Broncos] right" if Manning's injury came back.
“I think the Denver Broncos treated [Tebow] shabbily," he said. "He won seven games, he brought them into the playoffs, for heaven sakes. I mean, they were a nothing team. He rallied them together with spectacular last-minute passes and, you know, when they beat Buffalo—I mean, Pittsburgh, excuse me—it was a tremendous victory.”
Robertson then referred to Manning's neck injury that took him out of the past season.
“And you just ask yourself, okay, so Peyton Manning was a tremendous MVP quarterback, but he’s been injured. If that injury comes back, Denver will find itself without a quarterback. And in my opinion, it would serve them right.”
Update 2/23: Without naming names, Focus on the Family president Jim Daly appears to call out Robertson for his remarks.
Is it ever right to wish ill upon someone?
I don’t think so.
The Denver Broncos newly minted quarterback, Peyton Manning, doesn’t need me to come to his defense. But his arrival in Denver has spawned something of a backlash in a few select places, with some actually suggesting that it would suit the Broncos and Manning well if he were to reinjure his neck this coming season.
A thirst for vengeance is an ugly human emotion.