Tim Tebow signed with the Patriots in 2013 with hopes of learning from the best and succeeding Tom Brady when the future Hall of Famer hung up his cleats.
After a lackluster preseason, Tebow approached Coach Bill Belichick for his thoughts on a $1 million endorsement offer for a single-day commercial shoot. Belichick advised the quarterback not to take the deal, and then cut him in August of that year.
Tebow details the incident in his book Shaken.
I remembered when I had signed with the team in June. Then I’d had an offer on the table to make a one-day appearance endorsing a product for a million-dollar paycheck. I’m sure you’d agree that a million bucks is a lot to make in just twenty-four hours. But I wasn’t quick to say yes.
So when the offer for the one-day commercial turned up, I was sure to discuss the opportunity with him. “I want to know what you think, Coach,” I said. “I respect you and I want to fit in. I want to be one of the guys. Should I do it?”
He thought for a moment and then shook his head. “Timmy, I would really appreciate it if you didn’t.”
Highly respecting the man, I turned down the deal. I didn’t even think twice about it. I wanted the chance to impress Coach Belichick more than I wanted the money. I’ll say that if I were on any other team, I would have probably said yes to the offer. But the thoughts he offered in our initial conversation mattered to me — even more than a million dollars.
Back to the conference room.
“It’s not the right fit,” Coach Belichick said.
My stomach reeled in that moment. I felt disappointed. I felt I had let myself down. I didn’t believe I performed as well in practice or the preseason as I could have, but I was getting better. I had been stoked about the opportunity to learn and train under Tom Brady, one of the best quarterbacks of all time, and planned on using that experience to become one of the best quarterbacks of all time too. At the beginning of training camp, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be like Tom and train like Tom and do like Tom, but then I realized it wasn’t about being Tom Brady; it was about being me and doing my best. Yet, despite improving my performance during the preseason, my effort wasn’t enough.
Frankly, it hurt. I had hoped Coaches Belichick and McDaniels would give me the benefit of the doubt. They were some of my biggest supporters. If they didn’t believe in me, who would?