QB Tebow sharpens his skills

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is used to being behind center — not behind a knife.

But the Heisman Trophy winner’s offseason hasn’t been your average summer filled with beaches and ball and babes.

Tebow has spent his three scheduled breaks from Florida’s offseason training program across the world, venturing to the Philippines, Croatia and Thailand on missionary trips.

In some instances, Tebow has found himself circumcising children in poverty-stricken areas.

Mainly, though, Tebow has enjoyed the anonymity.

"I was walking through a German airport, and some guy who couldn’t even speak English was like ‘Tim Tebow!’ " Tebow told Rivals.com’s Steve Meargee on Wednesday at the Southeastern Conference football media days in Birmingham, Ala. "In the Philippines, there was a lady in Manila who came up to me and could barely speak English, but she said her daughter went to Florida and she was so excited."

If Tebow thought performing minor surgery was hard, he might have a tougher time winning the Heisman Trophy again.

Tebow was the first sophomore to capture the award, and his chances for another would appear slim.

The past four players who returned to defend their Heisman — Oklahoma running back Billy Sims, Brigham Young quarterback Ty Detmer, Oklahoma quarterback Jason White and Southern California quarterback Matt Leinart — finished no higher than third.

• BIG JOKE — Football players at Kansas have a message for all those jokers out there: Back off our coach.

T-shirts have been sprouting up throughout Lawrence, poking fun at Mark Mangino’s, well, girth.

"I guess everyone has a different sense of humor," linebacker Mike Rivera said about the shirts, which feature slogans such as "Our Coach Beat Anorexia" and "Our Coach is Phat."

"Some things are funny to some people," Rivera added. "But sometimes, you have to think about what other people feel."

• DO THE BARTMAN — Michael Jordan, move over.

Babe Ruth, you’re out.

Muhammad Ali, wait in line.

The National Sports Collectors Convention wants Steve Bartman to be its man of the hour. And it will pay him for it.

In a joint venture with SportsBuy.com, the NSCC is offering the infamous Chicago Cubs fan $25,000 for a single autograph.

Bartman, you might recall, has become a recluse since interfering with Moises Alou’s attempt to catch a foul ball in the 2003 National League Championship Series.

"No one in sports memorabilia history has ever been paid $25,000 to sign one autograph — not Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig or any other athlete," said Mike Berkus, co-Executive Director of the NSCC. "Steve Bartman has been a recluse for years, but we’re hopeful that he will accept our invitation and generous offer to appear. … We have personal security to provide to Steve at (the NSCC) and to a destination of his choosing."

COMPILED BY JON GOLD REVIEW-JOURNAL

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