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Tim Tebow might not be cut out for the CFL

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The Montreal Alouettes own Tim Tebow's CFL rights, but the team's GM isn't sure if the quarterback would have a better shot north of the border.

Jeff Zelevansky

The New York Jets don't want Tim Tebow. The Jacksonville Jagaurs aren't interested, either. Some reports have hinted that Tebow might have to become a fullback if he wants a shot at an NFL training camp next season, but there is another option for the maligned former Heisman winner: Tebow could try to play quarterback in the Canadian Football League.


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However, a CFL career for Tebow as a quarterback isn't as easy as some might suspect. The Montreal Alouettes own Tebow's CFL rights, but general manager Jim Popp told SB Nation on Tuesday that he isn't convinced Tebow could make it as a signal-caller north of the border.

"I'm no different from anyone else. Not until we see Tim Tebow would you ever know if he can play for you," Popp said. "I don't know if he can play in the Canadian Football League in our game either."

The Alouettes are hardly in need of a quarterback next season. Alouettes QB Anthony Calvillo has announced he will return to Montreal in 2013 for his 20th season in the CFL. The 40-year old Calvillo is the all-time leader in passing yards in professional football, amassing over 70,000 yards and 400 touchdowns through the air.

Where does that leave Tebow if he's shunned from the NFL as a quarterback? Not even Popp is sure.

"(Tebow) is a guy who's obviously a well liked person," Montreal's GM said. "He's a total winner. He's won everywhere he's been. The one thing about it is I have no idea if he could ever play in the Canadian Football League. He is a guy that coach Trestman has tutored and taught and somebody that we know as a character person you would always like to have on your team. But could he ever play in the Canadian Football League? I don't know that."


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Popp has become accustomed to watching coach Marc Trestman, a finalist to land the Bears head coaching job, and Calvillo orchestrate one of the CFL's top offenses in recent years, and he's familiar with how valuable a traditional pocket passer can be at any level of football.

"Not every team that has true success and competitive success every year has a quarterback that can stand in the pocket and throw every throw on the field," he said.

Tebow didn't start a game for the Jets in 2012 after leading the Denver Broncos to the divisional round of the playoffs last season. In November, Jets teammates anonymously told the New York Daily News they believed Tebow had no chance of unseating struggling starter Mark Sanchez. Another teammate anonymously described Tebow as "terrible."

When the Jets finally did decide to bench Sanchez in Week 15 against the Arizona Cardinals, coach Rex Ryan turned to Greg McElroy instead of Tebow. McElroy also got the start the following week against the San Diego Chargers amid reports that Tebow asked out of New York's Wildcat packages.

"There comes and goes the great athlete that can move around and throw," Popp said. "If he can do it all obviously he'll stick. If he can't make all those throws, then usually they come and go.

"The only way you'll ever know if a guy can truly play, that you make a commitment to change your system to fit around that one person, and then you go that route and you take a chance. And that's really the only way you'll ever know if Tim Tebow ... if you can get the best out of him. Someone has to be willing to make that commitment."