Tim Tebow, Broncos agree to 5-year contract
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - Quarterback Tim Tebow missed some practices but none that counted before agreeing to a contract with the Denver Broncos on Thursday. The two-time national champion from the University of Florida and 25th pick in the NFL draft missed the first three workouts for rookies and selected veterans while his agent, Jimmy Sexton, and General Manager Brian Xanders hammered out a deal. It's worth $11.25 million over five years with $8.7 million of that guaranteed. ESPN reported that Tebow could earn as much as $33 million over the course of the contract. Tebow was in meetings Thursday night and didn't immediately return a message.Tebow is expected to practice Friday morning, the final session before training camp begins in earnest Sunday with a full squad in full pads. The signing of Tebow leaves top pick Demaryius Thomas, a wide receiver out of Georgia Tech, as the only unsigned member of Denver's draft class. The Broncos announced Tebow's signing after workouts Thursday and Coach Josh McDaniels wasn't available for comment. The team is using four practices this week to give rookies, selected veterans and players coming off injuries a head-start on the playbook and practice plans - and also to get the jitters out before camp starts this weekend. "It's just an opportunity to feel better about playing faster," McDaniels said. "And I think whether you're a rookie quarterback or an injured player, it makes sense to come in and try to start crawling before you walk and walking before you run - because certainly none of them are going to hit the ground running because they're behind. "Every day is a great opportunity." The Broncos' starting quarterback remains Kyle Orton, who threw for 3,800 yards last season but faltered down the stretch when he got banged up and the Broncos kept their offense conservative. The Broncos were unwilling to commit to a long-term relationship this offseason, so Orton signed a $2.621 million tender as a restricted free agent and didn't miss any of the team's offseason program. But he did get some better competition for his job as the Broncos jettisoned Chris Simms and Tom Brandstater and brought in Brady Quinn from Cleveland and Tebow. Tebow might not be ready to make a big impact as a rookie because he faces a big adjustment as he morphs from combination college quarterback to prototypical pro passer. Still, many consider him the best college player ever and he's creating the kind of buzz in the Rockies that John Elway did back in 1983. His jersey already is a best-seller, he's pitching products for Jockey, EA Sports and Nike. And he's sure to be under a microscope from the second he steps on the practice field, whenever that may be. Tebow's teammates aren't concerned that he'll crater under all the attention. "As successful as he's been, I'm sure he can handle it," said 10-year veteran Russ Hochstein. Rookie tight end Riar Geer said the one thing he's learned in the four months he's known him is that Tebow prospers under pressure. "He definitely thrives on it. He's a competitor," Geer said. "Watching him out here in all the workouts, he's always coming in first place."