Urban Meyer: Cutting Tim Tebow was 'right thing' for Jaguars to do

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Tim Tebow's NFL comeback playing tight end for the first time in his career ended Tuesday when he was among the Jaguars' initial round of cuts to get their roster down from 90 players to 85.

Tebow thanked the Jaguars on his Twitter account: ''Thankful for highs and even the lows, the opportunities and the setbacks. I never wanted to make decisions out of fear of failure and I'm grateful for the chance to have pursued a dream. Thank you to the Jaguars organization and everyone who has supported me in this journey.''

Tebow, 34, has not been on an NFL roster since 2015, when he failed to make the Philadelphia Eagles' final 53-man for the regular season.

He was signed by the Jaguars in May and was reunited with Urban Meyer, who coached him at Florida from 2006-09. A Heisman Trophy winner in 2007, Tebow helped the Gators win two national championships as their starting quarterback under Meyer.

On Tuesday, Meyer said waiving Tebow was the proper move for the franchise.

''We knew that it was an uphill battle for Tim,'' Meyer said. ''Elite warrior, elite competitor, but he’s also 34 years old. Players loved him, locker room loved him, but it was the right thing.”

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Asked what was the biggest obstacle that held Tebow back in his unsuccessful NFL comeback, Meyer said special teams. Tebow did not draw any special teams snaps against the Browns in the preseason opener.

''Tight end position is one of those, and tailback, if he can’t contribute on special teams, that’s a tough go,” Meyer said. ''Two of the special teams phases are tackling, and if you’ve never tackled, that’s what I found myself - and I’m still finding myself, all of us, every off day, we’ll have a two-to-three-hour meeting about roster management. We expect to be very good in special teams.''

Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Tim Tebow (85) tries to get open during fourth quarter action. The Jacksonville Jaguars hosted the Cleveland Browns for their only home preseason game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida Saturday night, August 14, 2021. The Browns led at the half 13 to 0 and won with a final score of 23 to 13.
Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Tim Tebow (85) tries to get open during fourth quarter action. The Jacksonville Jaguars hosted the Cleveland Browns for their only home preseason game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida Saturday night, August 14, 2021. The Browns led at the half 13 to 0 and won with a final score of 23 to 13.

Tebow listed as fourth-string after Jaguars' training camp performance

During offseason practices and for the start of training camp Tebow showed ability to catch consistently.

But he never looked like a natural playing tight end, from his footwork to his blocking.

In this past Saturday's preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns, Tebow fell to the turf in the third quarter after barely making contact with Browns defensive end Curtis Weaver on a block attempt during backup running back Dare Ogunbowale's 6-yard run. Tebow ended the game getting targeted only once with no catches after drawing 16 snaps.

On another play during the Jaguars' 23-13 loss to the Browns, Tebow looked to be in position to get a pass thrown his way. Wide receiver Tavon Austin, however, stepped in front of Tebow to snag the ball for a 23-yard catch with 13 seconds remaining before halftime. After Austin's catch, Tebow turned around and looked for someone to block.

Three days before the Jaguars preseason opener, the Jaguars released their first depth chart, and Tebow was listed fourth-string among the tight ends with Tyler Davis and Ben Ellefson.

Tebow was the only tight end the Jaguars waived Tuesday. The Jaguars also waived former Georgia cornerback DJ Daniel, wide receivers Josh Imatorbhebhe, Tim Daniels and defensive tackle Daniel Ross.

When meeting with reporters Aug. 2, Meyer praised Tebow's drill work, but he pointed out a significant flaw in Tebow's game.

“In his drill work, he’s great, but when you get in a competitive moment, just [because of his] lack of experience he wants to body the ball,'' Meyer said. ''When you get to a point where two people are going after it, you have to go get the ball. He is fighting through that a little bit, but he has the skill set to catch the ball.”

Once the full pads came on, Tebow struggled to get separation from linebackers on underneath routes which in turn limited his number of targets in 11-on-11 work, especially from quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Tebow worked 'each and every day'

Assistant head coach/linebackers coach Charlie Strong was impressed by the way Tebow handled himself and the way he worked since Day 1 of his arrival in May. Strong also said Tebow was regarded with respect by his teammates.

''You know the amazing thing about him is — I don’t know if some guys could handle just how he is going about it because you look at a guy who was a quarterback,'' Strong said. ''A guy who won a Heisman, a guy who won two National Championships, and you go play a different position. For some people they may have thought their ego was too big for that but he is nothing like that.

''When you’re inside the locker room wherever he is and that’s what you like about him like he didn’t come in here thinking this is going to be given to me and he is working each and every day.”

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Cutting Tim Tebow was 'right thing' to do, Urban Meyer says