BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Eleven days after he was cut by the Jets, Tim Tebow’s future plans remain up in the air.
Since his release, Tebow has not spoken publicly about the dismissal or what his next move will be. Does he feel jilted by the Jets? Does he have any other NFL prospects? Would he consider the Canadian Football League?
Tebow didn’t offer any insight Thursday night during a roughly hour-long keynote address before a crowd of about 3,000 at Lake Michigan College. The lecture was part of the Economic Club of Southwest Michigan’s annual speaker series, and Tebow had been booked last summer, when he was still an active NFL player.
Tebow accepted no questions from the press at the event, and was quickly whisked out a back door by police escort afterward.
Instead of discussing the past two weeks or his future, the 25-year-old, wearing a dark suit and purple tie, sat on stage and engaged in an easygoing exchange with a moderator. Tebow spoke of his intensely competitive nature, his Christian faith, his love of family, and his record-setting high school and college careers. He only briefly touched upon his rookie season with the Denver Broncos, when he led the team to an improbable playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But he said nothing about the Jets.
The closest Tebow came to shedding light on what he might do next was when he repeated one of his favorite sayings: “I don’t know what the future holds, but at the end of the day I know who holds my future.”
Tebow says it’s a reference to a strong faith that remains a driving force in his life.
Last season, Tebow got few chances from Jets coach Rex Ryan, despite starter Mark Sanchez struggling throughout the season while leading New York to a dismal 6-10 record.
Still, a Forbes.com survey released this week called Tebow America’s most influential athlete. Tebow finished ahead of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps (25 percent), Jamaican track star Usain Bolt (23 percent) and Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (22 percent).
“That’s a huge honor,” Tebow said. “I see it as a great responsibility to be a role model for future generations. That’s something I care about more than winning football games. If I can take the game of football and can transcend football, go to hospitals and make kids smile, I’ll be doing things that matter.”
He hinted about finding a life of fulfillment after the game.
“What I want to do with my life is impact lives. When a kid in a hospital is fighting for his life and I’m trying to win a football game, what really matters? This game isn’t as important as a lot of us make it out to be. If I can give him a little bit of hope, I can do something that matters. That’s what I want my legacy to be about. That’s how I want to be remembered.”
Yahoo! Sports published a report this week that said Tebowmania could be partly to blame for the quarterback’s lack of prospects.
“You don’t want to put up with the circus,” an AFC head coach told the website.
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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)