OAKLAND, Calif. (BP)–Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow, one of the most visible Christians in college football history, threw for one touchdown and rushed for another in the first start of his NFL career Dec. 19, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Oakland Raiders.
Tebow completed 8 of 16 passes for 138 yards and added 78 yards rushing on eight carries in a 39-23 loss at Oakland. Both touchdowns came in the first quarter, the first on a 40-yard quarterback draw and the second when he connected on a 33-yard-pass to Brandon Lloyd. Tebow didn’t throw an interception.
“You’re playing against the biggest, strongest, fastest, but at the end of the day it’s still playing football and so it wasn’t extremely different,” Tebow was quoted as saying in an Associated Press story.
Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly praised Tebow’s performance.
“He’s a wonderful athlete,” Kelly said in a Denver Post story. “And he’s definitely a better athlete than I thought he was. You see him running plays in college and you think, ah, he’s running past 180-pound guys, and you’re thinking, get him up here with the big boys and see what he can do. But he got in there and he was making 230, 250-pound guys miss.”
Tebow, a member of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., was a first-round pick (25th selection overall) of the Broncos in the 2010 NFL draft, after starring at the University of Florida. He was a two-time NCAA national champion as quarterback of the Gators and in 2007 became the first sophomore in NCAA history to win the Heisman Trophy.
Tebow’s parents, Robert and Pamela, were missionaries to the Philippines when he was born in 1987. He has consistently been outspoken about his Christian faith, and has been active in ministering in prisons, schools and other mission projects.
HarperCollins will publish Tebow’s memoir, “Through My Eyes,” April 19.
Speaking at Union University in April, Tebow said, “My greatest goal in my life is that when I’m in heaven and I’m standing before Jesus Christ, he opens up His arms, and He walks up to me, and He gives me a hug, and He says, ‘Timmy, great job. You finished. That-a-boy.'”
Compiled by BPSports editor Tim Ellsworth, who also works as director of news and media relations at Union University in Jackson, Tenn.