Tim Tebow still hopes to play in NFL

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Tim Tebow will continue chasing his goal of being an NFL quarterback, even after signing on to help ESPN launch the SEC Network this fall.

The former Florida All-American said Tuesday he still trains five days a week.

"I feel like I'm the best that I've ever been as a quarterback right now. I hope I get the opportunity to show that," he said. "But I'm also looking forward to being part of 'SEC Nation' and part of ESPN."

The 26-year-old Heisman Trophy winner signed on Monday to be on the SEC Network's pregame show starting in August. He'll be part of the crew that will travel to schools in advance of SEC games on the network.

Tebow's first "SEC Nation" show will be Aug. 28 before Texas A&M opens the season at South Carolina, a game that will be shown exclusively on the SEC Network. The show then heads to Auburn on Aug. 30, where the Tigers will play Arkansas.

That is, of course, if Tebow doesn't get a call from an NFL team before then.

"I'm not sure what's ahead of me," Tebow said. "I'm very excited to have this opportunity at ESPN, but who knows what the next few months will hold?"

Tebow has bounced around the NFL since leaving Florida as part of two national champions.

He was a first-round selection by the Denver Broncos and then-coach Josh McDaniels in 2010. He took over as starting quarterback at midseason in 2011 and became one of the NFL's biggest stories as he went 7-1 in his first eight starts and threw an 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime to give the Broncos a 29-23 playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But there were still doubts about his passing ability, and Denver traded him that offseason to the New York Jets after acquiring Peyton Manning.

He languished on the bench while coach Rex Ryan ignored fans' calls for Tebow to replace a struggling Mark Sanchez. Tebow threw just eight passes, ran only 32 times and was cut last April 29.

For six weeks no team wanted him until the New England Patriots signed him to a low-risk, two-year contract with no guaranteed money.

"I don't have any regrets" about the NFL, Tebow said. "I've just tried to focus on being a better quarterback, being a better athlete and being ready whenever a team gave me a call."

Tebow said he's spoken with several friends who are analysts, including former Florida coach Urban Meyer, who worked for ESPN between his time with the Gators and being hired as Ohio State's coach.

Justin Connolly, ESPN senior vice president for college networks programming, said Tebow was important enough to ESPN that the network accepted he might not be finished with the NFL.

"In terms of specific situations, I don't want to get ahead of ourselves and comment on any particular eventuality or scenario that you could put together," Connolly said. "But that's a key piece of this relationship and we're going to honor that and respect it."

Connolly was asked on Tuesday's conference call whether Tebow's faith -- he's a noted speaker who has gained followers and critics for sharing his religious beliefs -- might enter into his analysis. Connolly stressed that Tebow was hired for his knowledge of football and the SEC.

"That's what the audience expects from him," Connolly said.