Bill Belichick destroyed Tim Tebow's NFL dream as only Bill Belichick could

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Bill Belichick lords above Tim Tebow and Tom Brady during a 2013 preseason Patriots practice. (Getty Images)
Bill Belichick lords above Tim Tebow and Tom Brady during a 2013 preseason Patriots practice. (Getty Images)

Former NFL first-round draft pick turned pro baseball prospect Tim Tebow is a devout Christian.

“Fox & Friends” is a Fox News program that caters to conservatives, like some devout Christians.

Bill Belichick was once described as the awful reptile in charge of the evil New England Patriots.

So, it is with all this in mind that we approach Monday’s interview with Tebow on “Fox & Friends.” The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner discussed his new book, “Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms,” which begins with a “stomach punch” from Belichick in a chapter titled “Cut.”

During a six-minute interview in which “Fox & Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt said, “Some people say that your faith is a distraction and maybe that’s why you have not landed with a team for a long time, and I applaud you for that, because you’re putting your faith above the sport, and I think that’s awesome,” Tebow summarized his feelings following a 15-minute conversation in August 2013 with Belichick, who cut him after he completed 36.7 percent of his passes during the Patriots’ preseason.

“It’s difficult because it also cuts into your pride, it cuts into your goals, it cuts into your dreams, and when all of that feels like it’s shaken, how do you react? How do you handle it? And, for me, I felt like, ‘Hey, going to the Patriots was gonna be a dream come true.’ Play under Tom Brady, and then when he retires, we’ll go play for Belichick and win a bunch of Super Bowls, and that was my goal. That’s what I thought was gonna happen, and then you get cut and it’s like, ‘Hey, what do I do next?’

“I remember flying to Jacksonville and sitting on the edge of the bed thinking, ‘OK, I have no house, no car, no one wants me to do what I want to do, what do I do next?’ And at moments like that, that’s when you really find out what your identity is all about and what defines you. …

“That’s really hard, especially when you feel like you’ve worked so hard to get to a point and then this was it, this was going to be the opportunity, this was going to be the dream come true, and it gets shattered right in front of you. That is very difficult.”

To recap what Tebow was channeling here, he planned on winning multiple Super Bowls under Belichick once Brady retired (God only knows when that’ll happen), but the Pats coach shattered that plan as if it were one of Tebow’s crystal BCS national title trophies. Hopes dashed, dreams smashed.

For the record, Tebow earned $9,687,500 playing for the Denver Broncos and New York Jets from 2010-12, according to spotrac.com, but you know what might have helped with that whole “no house, no car” situation in August 2013? The $1 million endorsement deal Tebow turned down because Belichick wanted him to follow The Patriot Way. This is a subject Tebow also broached on “Fox & Friends”:

“I didn’t want to be a distraction on the team. I wanted to be just another guy in the locker room, someone that could work, someone that could be a backup to Tom, and I didn’t want to be a distraction, having stuff all over the headlines, so that’s why I called coach Belichick to say, ‘Hey, what do you think about this? This is a great opportunity that I would say yes to, but I want to do what’s right for the team first.’

“He appreciated me calling, but said, ‘Hey, I would prefer if you didn’t do it,’ so of course I didn’t, because it would put the team first. And that’s not something that I look back and regret at all. It was me trying to honor the team, and if I could do it again, I would’ve done the same thing.”

Shortly afterwards, Belichick cut Tebow. Now, telling somebody to turn down a million bucks just before sending them to the unemployment line might seem like something an evil reptile would do, but Tebow sees it through a different lens. From that same Chapter 1 in the former Florida QB’s book:

So when the offer for the one-day commercial turned up, I was sure to discuss the opportunity with him. “I want to know what you think, Coach,” I said. “I respect you and I want to fit in. I want to be one of the guys. Should I do it?”

He thought for a moment and then shook his head. “Timmy, I would really appreciate it if you didn’t.”

Highly respecting the man, I turned down the deal. I didn’t even think twice about it. I wanted the chance to impress Coach Belichick more than I wanted the money. I’ll say that if I were on any other team, I would have probably said yes to the offer. But the thoughts he offered in our initial conversation mattered to me — even more than a million dollars.

Back to the conference room.

“It’s not the right fit,” Coach Belichick said.

My stomach reeled in that moment. I felt disappointed. I felt I had let myself down. I didn’t believe I performed as well in practice or the preseason as I could have, but I was getting better. I had been stoked about the opportunity to learn and train under Tom Brady, one of the best quarterbacks of all time, and planned on using that experience to become one of the best quarterbacks of all time too. At the beginning of training camp, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be like Tom and train like Tom and do like Tom, but then I realized it wasn’t about being Tom Brady; it was about being me and doing my best. Yet, despite improving my performance during the preseason, my effort wasn’t enough.

Frankly, it hurt. I had hoped Coaches Belichick and McDaniels would give me the benefit of the doubt. They were some of my biggest supporters. If they didn’t believe in me, who would?

In other words, it was through Belichick that Tebow learned to steer clear of any reckless boasting that may have come with a commercial and instead focus on his true dream of becoming one of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks. Sound familiar? I give you Jeremiah 23:32 from another book, called the Bible: “‘Behold, I am against those who have prophesied false dreams,’ declares the LORD, ‘and related them and led My people astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting; yet I did not send them or command them, nor do they furnish this people the slightest benefit,’ declares the LORD.”

So, perhaps we have to consider Belichick is not evil. After all, since being cut by the Patriots, Tebow has been credited to some degree with not one, but two life-saving miracles, not to mention the fact he hit a home run in his first professional at-bat upon signing a $100,000 minor-league baseball contract with the New York Mets. As Earhardt said in the “Fox & Friends” interview, “It’s awesome to see how God is using you in another field now.” In many ways, it is Belichick who set Tebow on this path, destroying his hopes and dreams in a storm that eventually led him to discover his true identity, so perhaps we should start thinking of his football failures as “Footprints in the Sand” moments.

Now, I have not read the entirety of Tebow’s “Shaken,” but I sure hope this poem is in it somewhere:

When the last scene of my career flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints on the field.
I noticed that many times along the path of my career
there was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in my career.

This really bothered me
and I questioned Belichick about it:
“Belichick, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you’d walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my career
there is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why
when I need you most you would leave me.”

Belichick replied:
“My precious child, I love you and would
never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints, it was then
that I carried you.”

Amen.

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Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don’t Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!