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Broncos quarterbacks fined Tebow over billboard incident

Kyle Orton,  Tim Tebow

Denver Broncos quarterbacks Kyle Orton (8) and Tim Tebow warm up prior to the Broncos’ NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)


By all accounts, Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow behaves like a perfect gentleman, and the ideal teammate. But before he became the starting quarterback in Denver, his reaction -- or, more accurately, his lack thereof -- to the placement of a billboard lobbying for him to become the starting quarterback prompted a definite response from the other quarterbacks on the team.

According to Jeff Darlington of NFL Network, the other quarterbacks began fining Tebow four days after the billboard appeared, due to his failure to speak out against the billboard.

Per Darlington, the reason never was articulated to Tebow. Whether Tebow figured it out on his own isn’t known. (Fans of rival SEC schools possibly would point to his Florida education and suggest that he didn’t make the mental connection.) But the fines continued for six days, until Tebow became the starter.

Though not nearly as juicy or revealing as a locker room fight or a sideline blowup, it’s the first evidence of any frustration with Tebow from his teammates. And it’s further proof of a passive-aggressive style that Tebow periodically displays, making his point without causing a ruckus. Like when he evaded direct questions from Shannon Sharpe of CBS as to whether Tebow believes he enjoys the full support of the organization.

Right or wrong, Tebow’s fellow quarterbacks believed he should have expressed disagreement with the billboard, and that by failing to do so he necessarily approved of it. And so, instead of responding to passive-aggression with more of the same, Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn opted to take the Tebow by the horns and punish him financially for failing to truly be the kind of teammates everyone presumes him to be.

While irrelevant now that Tebow is the starter, it’ll be interesting to see what happens if/when fans ever purchase a billboard calling for Tebow to be benched.

UPDATE 4:41 p.m. ET: As several of you have pointed out, and as I had forgotten, Tebow said on September 15 that he’d rather the money spent on the billboard be donated to his charitable foundation. “Well, I guess I appreciate the support, you know, but we got people in charge here that we trust and [I] trust they’re going to do the right thing,” Tebow said. Apparently, the fines arose not after the billboard that prompted Tebow’s September 15 comments was displayed, but after another billboard went up.