When Chuck Norris watches Tim Tebow, he sees a version of himself on the football field. As such, the ultimate tough guy has come to the defense of the beleaguered quarterback in an online column.
Tebow hasn't drawn any interest from NFL teams since his release by the New York Jets last month. He's been told he can compete for a backup spot in the CFL and that the Arena Football League might be right for him. But Norris believes that Tebow belongs in the NFL.
In a column for nonprofit conservative website Newsbusters, Norris calls Tebow one of his UCPs: an Ultimate Clutch Player.
"Tebow is a player who rises to the occasion and delivers big in critical moments," Norris writes in a column posted this week. "He reminds me of myself when I used to compete in martial arts."
He writes that Tebow, like himself, takes his skill to another level when he needs to.
"I would spar with my black belts in class, and sometimes they would outscore me. Yet in the tournaments, I would defeat them. My students used to ask me, 'Why is it that we can contend equally against you in class but can't beat you in the tournaments?' My answer was always the same: 'When it counts, I rise to the occasion,'" he writes.
Norris writes that he has been following Tebow since he was the Florida Gators' quarterback, "and I never have seen a more determined or inspiring athlete to play the game of football."
Norris makes the case that the Jacksonville Jaguars should sign Tebow and references Martin Luther King Jr. in his argument.
He writes that he read a USA Today story on Shad Khan in which the Jaguars owner is quoted as saying that King's work is "a contributing factor to his success."
"So let me respectfully challenge Khan to consider these words from Dr. King: 'There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right,'" Norris writes.
The Jaguars have repeatedly said they aren't interested in signing Tebow, and the Bold City Brigade, a team booster group, started a website, "Evenifhesreleased.com," which was launched as a countermeasure to the Tebow-mania bombarding the team.
If Tebow can't find a job in the NFL, he has a standing offer to play in the arena league.
Philadelphia Soul part-owner Ron Jaworski, also an ESPN NFL analyst, said Wednesday he was serious about his offer to Tebow to join his AFL team.
Jaworski, a former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, reached out to Tebow a day after the Jets released him in April. Jaworski has yet to hear from Tebow but expects to eventually.
"I love the guy," Jaworski said. "I want him here just for his leadership."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.