There's at least one football team left that wants Tim Tebow to play quarterback. He'll just have to go to Russia to do it.
Tebow has until Friday to accept a $1 million offer to play for a Russian football team, the owner of the Moscow-based club told BuzzFeed Sports on Wednesday. Mike Zaltsman, owner of the Moscow Black Storm, said Tebow wants to accept the deal but that his agents don't want him going to Russia.
"His agents are afraid he will get injured," Zaltsman said during a 15-minute phone call from Russia. "What we say is that we're the only league in the world that can be something close to NFL."
A staffer in the office of Tebow's agent Jimmy Sexton told BuzzFeed on Wednesday that, "we're not going to comment on that now or ever. It's ridiculous."
Since being released by the New England Patriots on Aug. 31, Tebow has been unable to drum up interest from other NFL teams. Some have even speculated Tebow may have finally run out of chances to make it in the NFL.
Which isn't to say there's been no call for his services: The L.A. KISS indoor football team, which is co-owned by KISS lead vocalist Gene Simmons, has also offered him a contract, and a group of Jacksonville Jaguars fans held a rally earlier this week to call on the hapless club to sign him. Their bid to land Tebow got some support from an unexpected source:
But Saltsman believes Tebow's best option is to join the Moscow Black Storm for their semifinal playoff game on Sept. 28. If the Black Storm wins that contest, Tebow would be obligated to play in the Russian league championship game the following week.
Saltsman said Tebow's presence could help elevate the 19-team league, where most players aren't paid and few games draw more than a few hundred fans. He compared Tebow's opportunity in Moscow to English soccer superstar David Beckham joining the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007.
"It's real football with real games and people here like it," Saltsman said. "We don't have millions of people who worship it like (the U.S.). We're trying to get it together. Tebow himself can move our league forward."
As for concerns that Tebow could get injured, Saltsman downplayed them even as he admitted that the Russian league was "a lot more rough than NFL. It's like we have more amateurs. We have boxers and wrestlers who are trying out the game. It's sort of like the U.S. college game."
Check it out for yourself:
At the least, Moscow is one place where they wouldn't have much room to criticize Tebow's throwing motion.
Saltsman and the Black Storm are still holding out hope that Tebow might overrule his agents. But they've made it clear that they only want him to come if he's ready to play.
"We don't need a motivational speaker," Saltsman said. "We need a player."