Tim Tebow hasn't been on an NFL regular season roster since 2012, when he played a part-time role with the Jets, but the Heisman Trophy winner and first-round pick may not be ready to give up on his NFL career just yet.
Tebow has been working with Tom House, a former Major League pitcher who has helped many quarterbacks -- including Patriots star Tom Brady. The Boston Globe reported last week that House has seen improvement in Tebow's mechanics, and also raised the possibility that Tebow might attend next week's NFL veteran combine in Arizona.
But the NFL has not received any official interest from Tebow, and he is not on their list of players scheduled to attend the one-day event.
The league has received an overwhelming response from players and/or their agents, and about two thirds of the 300 or so applicants have been turned down because the league can't accommodate that many.
Tebow would be considered for the event if he were to apply, although most players who will be attending the event have been on NFL rosters or practice squads within the last year or two.
"Combines have long provided draft eligible players with the forum needed to showcase their skills to NFL teams," says NFL Director of Football Development and former center Matt Birk. "The NFL Veteran Combine will give veteran free agents a similar opportunity to work out in front of club personnel in a streamlined process."
Among the players attending next week's event is Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team. Sam, a seventh-round pick of the Rams last year, was released by St. Louis last summer, but was signed to the Cowboys' practice squad. He was released by Dallas on Oct. 21 and remains unsigned.
Other players scheduled to be at the combine include former Giants running back Da'Rel Scott, former Rams defensive end Adam Carriker, former Falcons defensive end Jamaal Anderson and former Eagles and Buccaneers backup quarterback Mike Kafka.
Sad sack 49ers
As quickly as the Jets, Bills and Dolphins have energized their rosters through a series of bold moves, the 49ers have taken an equally swift dive.
It's bad enough the 49ers decided to part ways with coach Jim Harbaugh, who may have been high maintenance, but was still one of the league's top coaches. But the team has lost several familiar faces who helped Harbaugh's team reach three straight NFC title games before missing the playoffs last season.
Gone: guard Mike Iupati (signed with the Cardinals); running back Frank Gore (signed with the Colts); linebacker Patrick Willis (retired); defensive tackle Justin Smith (retired); punt returner Ted Ginn Jr. (signed with the Panthers).
Former defensive line coach Jim Tomsula takes over for Harbaugh, but it surely will be a tough act to follow, particularly with all that roster turnover. And turnover on the coaching staff as well; the 49ers will have new offensive and defensive coordinators in addition to a new head coach.
Good luck with that.
No Mariota to the Eagles?
Eagles coach Chip Kelly, whose overhaul on offense included trading away running back LeSean McCoy, signing running back DeMarco Murray and trading for quarterback Sam Bradford, hinted strongly that he wouldn't be trading up in the draft for Marcus Mariota, the former Oregon star quarterback.
But with Kelly saying another team already offered him a first-round pick for Bradford, the former Cardinals quarterback coming off a second ACL surgery, it's best to wait until we see where Mariota actually goes before taking the coach at his word.
Kelly says he won't use Bradford as a chip in a trade from No. 20 overall. "I'm the only Chip here," he told reporters. But if Mariota slips past the Titans at No. 2 -- and that's no guarantee, because Tennessee may be ready to take Mariota, assuming the Buccaneers go with Jameis Winston at No. 1 -- then Kelly may go to work climbing up the board to select the quarterback he brought to Oregon.
Here today, gone tomorrow
Two years ago, the centerpiece acquisitions for the Dolphins were Steelers free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace and Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, who were signed to deals worth a combined $90 million.
The Dolphins filled the void at receiver by trading Ellerbe and a third-round pick to the Saints for wide receiver Kenny Stills.