Tebow must face Manning recruitment

Tim Tebow should not feel great about Friday’s turn of events in Denver.

The climate in the Rocky Mountains has instantly changed from Tebow Time to Manning Madness. Tebow captured fans' imagination in Colorado and far beyond, but that all changed in Denver on Friday when television helicopters chased Peyton Manning’s SUV ride to the Broncos’ facility.

Less than two months after Denver executive John Elway and coach John Fox said Tebow will go to training camp as the Broncos’ starting quarterback, the team is putting the full recruitment press on Manning. Some of Tebow’s teammates – players who gave him a standing ovation after a pre-game speech prior to Denver's playoff loss at New England – were at the Broncos facility, swooning over Manning on Friday.

What should Tebow do about it?

Deal with it.

Opportunities to try to sign a player of Manning’s caliber are rare. Any team that is unsure of its future at quarterback needs to investigate signing Manning. That’s what Denver is doing.

The mere fact that Denver is trying to sign Manning doesn’t mean Tebow is out of the team's plans. Of course, if Manning chooses to sign with Denver, Tebow’s time will, at least, be postponed. The Broncos would either try to trade Tebow (Jacksonville, anyone?) or let him season behind Manning and perhaps be used in certain packages. But as long as Manning is healthy, there would be no Tebow-Kyle Orton-like controversy. The Broncos would be Manning’s team.

If Manning doesn’t sign with Denver, the Broncos will likely give Tebow a chance to prove himself in 2012. Sure, it could be awkward and yes, perhaps Tebow’s feelings would be hurt. But that’s the way the NFL works.