DAYTONA BEACH -- Many Jacksonville Jaguars fans are hoping Tim Tebow is drafted by his hometown team. On Thursday, Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew said that scenario might not be the best thing for Tebow.
Jones-Drew and Tebow were grand marshals for the Gatorade Duels at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday. Jones-Drew spoke with reporters and Tebow ran from them before the race. Tebow's attitude toward the press (only local reporters actually carried that he was there) is interesting and, in a slight way, adds validity to Jones-Drew's opinion that Tebow would benefit from getting the heck out Florida. Leaving Florida would mean less responsibility for Tebow.
"Getting drafted by Jacksonville would be a lot of pressure," Jones-Drew said. "I grew up in the Bay area and went to college in L.A. and I know if I would have gotten drafted to Oakland or San Francisco people would have thought he's going to change the team right now.
"It's a little bit different in college than the NFL, so I think it was best for me to go across the country. I got away from all the pressure, all the family and got to turn into the guy I wanted to be and not have people try and change me into something I'm not."
Jones-Drew made sure to add a disclaimer to his comments on Thursday. He added, "If we pick him, he's still going to do a great job, I just don't know if the pressure and the expectations of the city of Jacksonville and all the fans everywhere are going to have for him, but wherever he goes he's going to do a great job though."
Jones-Drew's cautious comments about Tebow came a few days after Jags' offensive lineman Uche Nwaneri criticized Tebow's skills. Nwaneri wrote on a Jacksonville Jaguars message board last week that Tebow "can't throw, period." Jones-Drew attempted to slightly clarify Nwaneri's comments: "That's the difference between college and pro, people don't speak their mind. Regardless if it hurts your feelings or not, they're going to tell how they feel about you."