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Jim Popp says Tim Tebow’s welcome in Montreal…as a competitor for a backup job

Andrew Bucholtz
55 Yard Line

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Tim Tebow may come to the CFL, but would likely still be a shirtless backup.

The theory that Tim Tebow could come to the CFL, become an instant star and return to the NFL in triumph has been circulating for years despite all its inherent problems, and Tebow's release by the New York Jets Monday has only further intensified that talk. Even though there are still plenty of flaws in the Tebow to the CFL storyline, it isn't exactly going away. There were still interesting developments on the Tebow front Monday, though, thanks to Montreal Alouettes' general manager Jim Popp. The Alouettes have Tebow on their negotiation list, meaning that he'll have to play in Montreal (or somewhere else if they trade him) if he elects to come to Canada. Given that the Alouettes already have CFL legend Anthony Calvillo as their starter, it was widely expected that they were only considering Tebow as a potential backup, but it's still useful to hear that (and that Tebow wouldn't even be guaranteed a backup job, and that the team isn't even actively pursuing him) from Popp himself. Here's what he told TSN's Dave Naylor Monday:

"If he wants to come to Canada he would be in the same situation as the one he was in with New York," said Montreal general manager Jim Popp. "He can come here and compete to be the backup to Anthony Calvillo and learn the game, just like Jeff Garcia did (behind Doug Flutie). And one day he might be the guy; that's our vision. He can learn from the best."

Popp also told Naylor Tebow only remains on Montreal's negotiation list because new head coach Dan Hawkins (like previous head coach Marc Trestman, now with the NFL's Chicago Bears) is a Tebow fan. It's conceivable Tebow could approach the team if he can't attract NFL interest, but Popp said the Alouettes aren't going after him, and they won't guarantee him anything if he does come north:

"If (Tebow) wants to come to Canada he will reach out to us," said Popp. "And if he wants to come to Canada we would take a look at him."

Frankly, Popp's honesty here is quite refreshing. Big-name U.S. media personalities from Chris Berman to Skip Bayless appear to believe that Tebow can instantly conquer the CFL and return to the NFL, which just isn't realistic. Becoming a star CFL quarterback is anything but easy or quick in general, especially given the differences between the Canadian and American games (particularly the three downs and the 12 men per side, but also the bigger field), and Tebow's own strengths and weaknesses would appear to make him especially ill-suited for the CFL.

There's plenty of sensible analysis from the U.S. on Tebow, including this look from CBS' Will Brinson at Tebow's options, this article from NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal on why Tebow's unlikely to choose Canada, and this piece from Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee on why Tebow's college success hasn't translated to the NFL. Unfortunately, much of that is getting lost in the noise from the likes of Berman and Bayless. Popp's analysis and honesty is rational, and it's exactly what CFL fans should expect from Tebow. If he does somehow decide to come north, he'll most likely be in a competition to win one of two or three backup quarterback jobs in Montreal. That may not make for as great of a story as the "Tim Tebow, Conqueror Of Canada" narrative the likes of Berman want to play up, but it's far closer to reality.

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