Tebow Farewell Tour begins


Florida quarterback Tim Tebow slaps hands with fans following the Orange and Blue game in Gainesville Saturday, April 18, 2009.

DOUG FINGER/Staff photographer
Published: Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at 9:03 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at 9:03 a.m.

He has his ritual, his way of coming out of the tunnel. He waits to let most of his teammates pour onto the field because he knows where the true payoff is.

"It's special," Tim Tebow said. "The most memorable part for me is I wait until the end and I get to see everyone run out. And then I hear the roar. That's what makes it the most special."

Seven more.

Seven more chances to linger, then hear that roar.

Seven more.

"I've definitely thought about it a lot, that's for sure," Tebow said. "It's exciting. Seven more opportunities to run out of that tunnel. I'm going to cherish every one of them."

Dressed in a T-shirt and sporting a soon-to-be-gone beard, Tebow looked like the part of a rock star at the first Monday media day for the Gators. It was fitting because you can't help but feel this is more of a Farewell Tour than a season.

This is your last season with Tebow. With Brandon Spikes. With Brandon James and the other seniors. With a handful of juniors as well.

But mostly, with Tebow.

It has the usual stops. He's coming to a stadium near you. It's perfect, really. He gets to go up against Tennessee at home. He gets to go to his favorite away stadium in Baton Rouge. He gets his Senior Day against Florida State. I've always felt bad for seniors who get honored before a game against The Citadel or Western Carolina. Senior Day vs. the Semis? That's the way you want to go out.

"I like the way it sets up," Tebow said.

Of course, it would have to be perfect for these guys.

"These are the guys who have raised this place to where it is," UF coach Urban Meyer said. "I (thought about it) over the summer when you have time to think. I'm going to cherish every minute.

"You know, not a day went by this summer when I didn't talk to Tim. Even on vacation. I'm going to cherish it."

You could see it in Tebow's eyes Monday that he was as happy that it's game week as you are. He has one class, every Tuesday, a seminar on being a senior. Think he's going to enjoy this year?

We know this is Tebow's last season at Florida but we don't know all the stops on the Farewell Tour. Atlanta? Pasadena? Maybe a trip to New York City? All of those answers are ahead of us. Lexington is on the Tour. So is Columbia, the place whereTebow probably won the Heisman Trophy two years ago.

They get one more look at the face of college football.

Gator fans get a bunch more.

You probably believe this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, that a guy like this can't come along again. Superman with a conscience. A player who gives out punishment and then gives back.

Just remember this. When Danny Wuerffel was finishing up his senior season, we all assumed another one like him wouldn't come along again. And then he did, bigger and stronger.

There's no point wondering if we'll ever see anything like Tim Tebow again. Just enjoy this last hurrah, this Farewell Tour. We get one every year, but none of them were like this.

I know, Farewell Tour sounds melancholy. How about "Intensity in 10 Cities"? Taken. "The Timmy T and the Rings Tour"? Lame. Maybe we should just call it what it is, especially because nobody knew for sure on the morning of Jan. 9 if this would happen at all.

Timmy Tebow, Senior Year.

Buckle up.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at dooleyp@gvillesun.com.

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