ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Tim Tebow is amused and disturbed by reports there was a bounty on his head.
The former Florida quarterback on Thursday laughed off a report that he was the target of a $5,000 bounty in 2008 from a former University of Miami booster who is at the center of the school’s salacious scandal.
“I didn’t know about that” bounty, Tebow said, chuckling. “It’s funny, though.”
Tebow, who’s now a second-year backup with the Denver Broncos, said he doesn’t remember any unnecessarily rough hits from the Hurricanes.
“That was a fun game, I remember that,” Tebow said. “That was my only opportunity to play the Canes, but it was a lot of fun. Good memories from that game.”
And why not? Tebow threw for 256 yards and two TDs and ran 13 times for 55 yards in Florida’s 26-3 win over Miami on Sept. 6, 2008.
And he wasn’t knocked out by any big hits.
Jailed Ponzi scheme artist Nevin Shapiro told Yahoo Sports that he put a bounty on Tebow that day and had a standing, three-year bounty on Florida State quarterback Chris Rix.
Shapiro is serving 20 years in federal prison for his role in the $930 million Ponzi scheme. In the Yahoo Sports story this week, Shapiro said he provided Miami players with cash, prostitutes, cars and other gifts over the past decade.
The NCAA is investigating Shapiro’s claims of providing improper benefits to Miami players.
Asked about the notion of someone encouraging players to hurt opponents to collect money, Tebow said: “That’s never what you want in sports. You’re playing to win. You go hard. I mean, it’s a violent game, people get hit, people get hurt. But to go out there and purposely try to hurt someone? I don’t believe in that at all.
“That’s not why we play the game. So, that’s unfortunate if some people would go” to such extremes, Tebow said. “But I don’t think all the Miami Hurricanes went out there trying to hurt me or anything because I had quite a few friends, as well. So, I think there were a lot of good players on that team, good kids on that team.”
Tebow said high school and college athletes need to be prepared in case they’re approached by unscrupulous individuals offering illicit or illegal benefits. He said those student-athletes need to have a heart-to-heart talk with themselves.
“Hey, no matter what comes at me, I’m going to say no to it, not ‘What is it? How nice is it? How nice is the perk?’” Tebow said. “If they’re thinking anything like that, then temptation can overcome you and you give into it and then regret it later on down the road.”
Three of Tebow’s teammates in Denver are former Hurricanes who were named in the Yahoo report. Linebacker D.J. Williams, running back Willis McGahee and rookie right tackle Orlando Franklin have all declined to discuss the allegations.
“I ain’t talking about Miami,” McGahee said Wednesday night. “I’m out of Miami.”
Tebow said he hadn’t read the lengthy investigative report, “but we hear about it all the time in the locker room.”
“I’m sure there were a lot of guys who weren’t involved in that, a lot of good guys, a lot of good players that didn’t want to have anything to do with that,” Tebow said. “I really believe that, because I had several friends on that team, as well. But you’re going to have guys pretty much everywhere that are going to want to go and find shortcuts and find ways to make it easier and that’s unfortunate.”
Back to the Broncos, Tebow said he was pleased with his performance in Denver’s preseason opener at Dallas last week but that he has plenty to work on Saturday night against Buffalo.
Although he completed 6 of 7 passes against the Cowboys, Denver settled for two field goals on his drives. One of them followed a wild third-down play in which Tebow scrambled around and crossed the line of scrimmage before stepping back and unloading a pass, which drew flags and even chuckles from the officials.
“Well, in the QB room I got fined for it because of three penalties on one play,” Tebow said.
Connect with AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton at http://twitter.com/arniestapleton