Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Friday, May 7, 2010


Does Character matter? As long as their have been professional sports, there has been this question. Does an owner build a franchise with a player that has questionable character issues and tremendous natural ability or a player who is a role model for the community, but still needs to be groomed for the professional ranks. A pertinent example of this was a few weeks ago during the 2010 NFL Draft. Everybody knew the story about Tim Tebow; the national championships at Florida, the Heisman on his mantel. He’s done it all at the college level, but his mechanics and unorthodox style have always begged the question: Can Tim Tebow be a starting quarterback in the NFL. The coach of the Denver broncos Josh McDaniel’s thinks he can.
“With the 25th pick in the NFL draft, the Denver broncos select Tim Tebow, quarterback out of the university of Florida”. When Commissioner Roger Goodell said those words, the hundreds packed in at Madison square garden and the millions of viewers at home were stunned. More shocking than the Broncos picking Tim Tebow in the first round is that they already had Kyle Orten and newly acquired Brady Quinn from Cleveland. League sources said that Tebow was picked by the Broncos because of a fifteen minute meeting between McDaniel’s and the two-time national champion. What was said in McDaniel’s office we might never know, but what we do know is Tebow must have made one hell of an impression. An impression so mesmerizing that with two other quarterbacks already on his roster and defensive needs, the second year head coach went with a side-arm slingling, run-first, three to four year project. Coach McDaniel’s saw something you can’t teach; intangibles and character. Tebow possesses a willingness to do whatever it takes to get better.
Even with winning national championships and a Heisman trophy, Tebow is willing to admit he still has plenty of work to do to be a successful quarterback in the NFL. He’s humble and hungry to improve. Even when John Gruden grilled him on his playing style during a SportsCenter draft special, Tebow didn’t falter. He responded with yes sirs and did everything that was asked of him during Gruden’s drills. This display of respect alone showed how different a breed of football player this young man is and now people were starting to understand why McDaniel’s had to take Tebow. Today more than ever with twitter feeds and facebook, scandals of professional athletes no matter how small spread across the social media landscape like wildfire. Blemishes are almost expected for most athletes in the sports world. Blemishes don’t exist for Tebow. He hasn’t been corrupted by the money and fame that comes with the NFL job to this point and it doesn’t seem like that day will ever come to pass. He treats the NFL as an opportunity to give back.
Most avid sports fans watching the draft thought Jimmy Clausen’s name was going to be called on the first day of the draft and definitely ahead of Tim Tebow. As the first day of the draft came to an end, the quarterback from Florida went ahead of the one from Notre Dame. Clausen has plenty of talent, arguably a lot more than Tebow. He ran an offense at Notre Dame very similar to an NFL style. His numbers this past season, 28 touchdowns and 4 interceptions were unmatched in college football. So why did Clausen’s stock drop? Scouts said character issues. Clausen was projected by most to be a top ten pick in the draft. He went 48th.
On the field, Clausen didn’t always demonstrate leadership intangibles that a starting collegiate quarterback needs to possess and a few off the field incidents cost him. On June 23, 2007, Clausen was cited for illegal transportation of alcohol in South Bend, Indiana. He was driving someone who was of legal drinking age to a liquor store to buy alcohol. Then, on November 22, 2009, Clausen was involved in an altercation outside of a South Bend pub. It was reported that upon his departure, Clausen was punched in the face outside of the pub. A later report of this incident indicated that the other subject involved in this incident allegedly shoved Clausen's girlfriend. It was reported that Clausen then shoved the subject away prior to Clausen being punched. These altercations, seemingly small, cost Clausen life changing top ten pick money. He will have to start from the bottom up in the NFL, having to work everyday to improve his reputation and to become a leader in the eyes of the players and coaches in Carolina.
Character matters.

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