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Tebow to the Broncos

tim_tebowJACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It looks like Tim Tebow's first game as an NFL football player will, indeed, be in his hometown of Jacksonville.

One problem.

He'll be on the visiting sideline.

The Denver Broncos, who chose the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner with the 25th selection of the NFL Draft on Thursday night, will visit the Jaguars on Sept. 12 for the opening week of the regular season. The Broncos paid a strong price to get Tebow, giving up a second, third and fourth round draft pick to move up.

"That will be exciting, to be honest," Tebow said of his pro career starting in the area he became a high school legend. "I'm just going to compete, go in there and get some playing time and just get better. Be part of a franchise and a great organization. That's what I'm excited about."

Tebow said he wasn't surprised Jacksonville passed on him.

"I had only met with them one time and it was an interview at the combine," Tebow said. "I hadn't done a workout for them or had a visit. We hadn't actually really talked to anybody from the Jaguars from the combine so I didn't really think that they were that interested."

Tebow chuckled when asked about his number coming available and said, "If they want me to wear 15, I'll wear 15."

That was Tebow's number at Florida, and it just came open when Denver receiver Brandon Marshall departed for the Miami Dolphins.

A little after 8:30 p.m. EDT Thursday, the hearts of Jaguars football fans collectively skipped a beat when the Buffalo Bills selected running back C.J. Spiller with the ninth pick. Jacksonville, picking next, took Cal defensive tackle Tyson Alualu. Tebow would have been a reach with the No. 10 selection.

But the Broncos' new quarterback seemed thrilled where he landed. Denver has quarterbacks Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn already on the roster.

Tebow said he talked with Gators coach Urban Meyer and called his mentor, "Excited."

While Tebow had to wait for more than 2 and-a-half hours to see where he's headed in the pros, two Gators went relatively quickly in the first round - safety Joe Haden to the Cleveland Browns at No. 7 and center Maurkice Pouncey to the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 18.

Tebow said Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, who called him with the news, was a great fit.

"I'm excited just to pick his brain and go out there and just start grinding," Tebow said.

He said being taken in the opening round wasn't important but having a team with faith in him was.

"They're going to get my heart and soul and everything that comes with me," Tebow said.

McDaniels worked him out in Denver recently and came away impressed.

"I think I just showed them I was going to do whatever it takes," Tebow said. "Just my work ethic and them believing in me, I can accomplish what they want me to accomplish."

While Tebow has a pile of critics, not everyone felt the pick was questionable.

"It's not just about playing quarterback, it's about adding him to your football team," former Tampa Bay Bucs coach and ESPN analyst Jon Gruden said. "Who knows when he's going to play, what he's going to play, how he's going to play? But you are adding one big-time human being on your football team.

"And this guy, Tebow, will not be denied. He will develop into a big-time football player. He will be huge in the Broncos' community."

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