One can only imagine how John Elway and John Fox broke the news to Tim Tebow that they were bringing in Peyton Manning to replace him, so let's wildly speculate.
"Hey Timmy, just wanted to say great job again last year. You know how you led us on an improbably playoff run, sold millions of dollars in merchandise and captivated the nation? Well this other guy just had multiple neck surgeries and hasn't played in a year, so we're gonna go with him."
Let's take a look at some other awkward exits in sports history.
Montana defined the 49ers for a decade, and was already arguably the best quarterback to ever play in the NFL. He brought San Francisco four super bowl titles in four attempts, but injuries derailed his run in 1991 and 1992. By then, Steve Young had solidified his role as the team's quarterback of the future, and Joe was shown the door. He played two more seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs before retiring. The 49ers won a Super Bowl with Young in 1994.
After winning a World Series in only their fifth year of existence, the ownership team then turned around and stripped the team of most of their parts. They shipped out Kevin Brown, Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, Charles Johnson and Moises Alou. Thanks for the memories guys, now clean out your lockers. We'll mail your championship rings in 6-8 weeks.
Odom has the distinction of being the first (and hopefully only) player to be traded for 10 baseball bats. Seriously. After the player he was initially offered for refused to agree to the trade, and a cash settlement couldn't be reached, Odom was traded for 10 34-inch bats, valued at $655. Odom maintained the trade, and infamy, never bothered him. But the heckling followed him. Tragically, he passed away a few months later of an assumed overdose.
With a doubleheader scheduled between the Phillies and Mets, Cardenal entered the first game with Philadelphia, and naturally assumed he would finish the day with them. To everyone's surprise, Cardenal was traded -- in between games -- to the Mets. "Jose, you've been traded. Now get your stuff and report to your new team. They are across the hall."
After signing with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent, Shaq became a dominant force and perhaps the greatest center in the history of the NBA. Three championships later, the relationship was growing strained, thanks to sharing the spotlight with budding superstar Kobe Bryant. Looking for a raise after the 2003-04 season, and hurt by comments from Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak and the exit of head coach Phil Jackson, O'Neal demanded a trade. He was sent to the Miami Heat, where he would win another title in 2006.
The entire twilight of the man's career was awkward. The knowledge that Aaron Rodgers was drafted by the Green Bay Packers to be Favre's replacement, Favre's refusal to mentor Rodgers, the tearful retirement press conference, the return with the Jets after making it clear he wanted to go to the Minnesota Vikings to stick it to the Packers, the second retirement after a lackluster season in New York, the return to the Vikings, the brutal ending in the NFC championship game against the Saints, and then the cell phone pictures. It was all awkward. Still is.
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