OK, it’s somewhat crazy. But Tim Tebow could actually do worse things with his time than playing a couple of games for the Moscow Black Storm for a cool $1 million. Just look at the story of another quarterback who couldn’t cut it in the NFL — Bobby Rome.
Rome is a former high school quarterback who played tailback at the University of North Carolina, and was released by the Green Bay Packers in 2010. Now he’s playing football in Russia, and thriving. Well, surviving. One assumes he’s making far less than the offer Tebow just received.
You may have heard the news by now — it happened a couple of days ago — that the Russian Black Storm has offered Tebow 32.2 million rubles to play two games. Its owner, Mikhail Zaltsman, says he’s talked to Tebow, and the quarterback is considering it.
Our guess: Tebow is not considering it.
A little about the Russian league where the Black Storm plays, from Russia Beyond the Headlines:
Just being linked with Tebow is good PR for the Russian league. Were he actually to come over, Tebow would be by far the highest-paid player in a largely amateur competition that has no website (it uses a social networking page aptly titled “Rookies” instead) and where the record crowd for a game is about 2,000.
Many of the teams have identities lightly adapted from their NFL counterparts – the Black Storm’s logo resembles that of the Green Bay Packers, while the league also boasts the Nizhny Novgorod Broncos.
The Black Storm already has several American players, but one of the Russians on the roster says making the team is often simply a matter of being available on game day – “The coaches say: ‘Oh, you’re here. Why don’t you play?’”
The first team that Zaltsman wants Tebow to play against is the Moscow Patriots, who aside from having an interesting logo, also have Rome.
Rome was drafted by the Packers in 2010, was released, and signed on with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the UFL. But now he’s playing quarterback for the Moscow Patriots.
If Tebow comes, “I’d be right there to greet him,” said Rome, who would face Tebow in his first game.
“My advice to him would be to just have fun,” Rome told RBTH. “They’re great guys, great athletes, and they’re underestimated.” Tebow won’t have everything his own way though.
“The bigger question is why would [the Black Storm] need a Tim Tebow … to stop Bobby Rome,” he said.
Rome was a quarterback in high school and was converted to tailback at UNC (where he also played quarterback in the wildcat), then fullback in the UFL. Now in Moscow, he’s back playing the position with which he originally fell in love.
That may sound familiar to Tebow, who has said he will not play any other position.
Zaltsman’s plan, as he describes it, includes flying Tebow into Moscow for the Black Storm’s playoff semifinal against the Patriots. Then, if they win, to play in the championship game.
And the owner may have provided a spoiler on Tebow’s future if he can’t get back into the NFL.
Just one obstacle stands in the way, Zaltsman says – Tebow’s agents. “They’re thinking of using him as a motivational speaker,” he said with a sigh. “They don’t want him to play football.”
Yep. Tim Tebow, living in a van DOWN BY THE RIVER. But the owner insists Tim wants to come to Russia.
Perhaps surprisingly for a team owner in a league even most American expats in Moscow have never heard of, Zaltsman is prepared to play hardball with Tebow. “He says that this is his top choice, but from what we know, it is his only choice,” Zaltsman says.
Damn you, Putin! You’ll not steal Tebow! (Shakes fist in direction of Russia).