Tim Tebow is the resident nice guy in the football community. He had success as a youth and although he never became an NFL superstar, he still has respect from his peers and fans.
Bill Belichick is the resident evil guy. He wins in shady ways, is cold with the media and cuts players as soon as their value drops a pinch below where he wants it.
Tebow and Belichick once worked together. Tebow had a preseason stint with the Patriots in 2013, but was dropped before Week 1. All seemed cordial. The Patriots decided to go with Brady and backup Ryan Mallett over Tebow. But they gave him a chance.
It turns out, it was not that simple. Belichick actually talked Tebow out of $1 million.
This excerpt from Tebow's new book, Shaken retells the story:
I remembered when I had signed with the team in June. Then I'd had an offer on the table to make a one-day appearance endorsing a product for a million-dollar paycheck. I'm sure you’d agree that a million bucks is a lot to make in just twenty-four hours. But I wasn’t quick to say yes....
...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.
Appearing on Fox & Friends Monday, Tebow explained the story, saying, "I didn't want to be a distraction on the team." Tebow does not mention in the book or the interview what the brand was, but he is clear Belichick saw the commercial as a distraction.
Tebow says he does not regret his decision and would have done the same thing if he were able to do it again. However, he also writes that if he were on any other team, he "would have probably said yes to the offer."
Tebow arrived in New England after two seasons with the Broncos and one with the Jets. He became a broadcaster for the SEC Network in December 2013. However, Tebow did make one last football comeback, playing with the Eagles in the 2015 preseason. Again, the former Heisman Trophy winner was cut between the fourth preseason game and Week 1.
Tebow gave baseball a try this year, signing with the Mets and playing in the Arizona Fall League.
Tim Tebow will be fine financially. He can live comfortably as a broadcaster and mega-endorser for the rest of his life. Belichick talking Tebow out of $1 million in 2013 is not the end of the world.
But it is still a coach talking a player out of $1 million, only to cut him before the first game of the season. That is tough.