Tebow Time: Jaguars' Newest Tight End To Wear No. 85
The Tim Tebow and Jacksonville Jaguars era has officially begun. For now, Tebow will be No. 85 for his hometown team, and jerseys are already on sale for those who have clamored for this day for years. The jersey number was first reported by Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.
Tebow was seen sporting the No. 85 jersey on his way to the field for his first day of offseason workouts. In the video, captured by News4Jax, Tebow caught up with receiver Marvin Jones and introduced himself while walking to the practice fields.
While 85 is a typical number for a tight end, it’s a new look for Tebow in a football jersey. He wore No. 5 while playing for the local Jacksonville team, Nease High School. Once with the Florida Gators, he famously wore No. 15, turning it into an iconic quarterback number during his run to two National Championships and a Heisman trophy.
During his time with the Denver Bronco’s—the team that drafted him in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft—Tebow kept the No. 15 jersey. He wore the same with the New York Jets. When signed by the New England Patriots as an offseason/preseason quarterback, Tebow returned to his high school jersey, No. 5. His last stop in the NFL (until now) was with the Philadelphia Eagles, albeit again just as a preseason passer. During that stint, he sported No. 11.
The former quarterback has spent the past five years playing in the New York Mets organization, as a Minor League baseball player. He wore No. 15 and No. 85 during that time.
The No. 15 jersey is already claimed for the Jaguars, by quarterback Gardner Minshew II. With the drafting of quarterback Trevor Lawrence at No. 1 overall, there has been speculation Minshew could be traded away. If so, the jersey would become available. If Tebow wanted to buy the number from Minshew, he would have to purchase any remaining jersey stock for the QB.
The number change wouldn't have been possible for a tight end until recently. This offseason, the league approved a rule change. As NFL.com explains, the new rules allow for the following:
“The expanded jerseys will allow running backs, tight ends, fullbacks, H-backs and wide receivers to wear numbers 1-49 and 80-89; defensive backs can choose from 1-49; linebackers 1-59 and 90-99; offensive linemen 50-79; and defensive linemen 50-79 and 90-99. QBs, kickers and punters will remain in 1-19.”
Sports site fanactics.com already has the No. 85 Jaguars jersey up for sale with Tebow’s name on the back.
Of course, this is theoretically a camp number. Tebow could change numbers once the 53-man roster is set and final numbers are assigned. And that is dependent on him actually making the team at all. At 33-years old, Tebow is returning to the NFL for the first time since 2015; he hasn’t played in a regular-season game since 2012. He has never played tight end.
The Jaguars officially signed Tebow on Thursday, giving Head Coach Urban Meyer’s former Florida quarterback a one-year contract. The Jaguars' roster now sits at 90 players.
"I want to thank the Jaguars for the opportunity to compete and earn the chance to be part of this team. I know it will be a challenge, but it is a challenge I embrace," Tebow said in a statement released by the Jaguars.
"I am dedicated to taking the direction of our coaching staff and learning from my teammates. I appreciate everyone's support as I embark on this new journey."