Hayden Smith called shotgun for the three-hour trip from north Jersey to Jets training camp in upstate New York on Thursday morning. His driver? None other than the most talked about athlete in America, Jets quarterback Tim Tebow.
The Australian-born Smith hopped a ride with Tebow and arrived at the team’s training camp in Cortland by mid-afternoon, hopping out of the passenger side of Tebow’s black Escalade. It was a fun trip for Smith, a former rugby player who is trying to transition into the NFL at tight end. The question of what type of music Tebow listens to on road trips, however, remains a mystery.
“No radio, [just] chatting. No music,” Smith told Metro New York.
“We were chatting all sorts of things really — Australia, different parts of the world. Tim’s grown up playing football playing here in America and I grew up in different situations. It was two guys talking about shared experiences and different ones too.”
- PHOTOS: New art and old relics at Mickey Mouse's NYC gallery 25 Pictures
- PHOTOS: See Yes on 3 supporters react to historic transgender rights Question 3 win 11 Pictures
Smith’s first NFL training camp will be made easier by some of the insight gained from Tebow, now entering his third year in the league. They make an interesting driving pair, with Smith having never played organized football before and very much learning the game and Tebow, a throwback quarterback who plays unconventionally and isn’t a typical pocket passer. But Smith said he was able to pepper his road trip buddy with questions throughout their drive that took then from New Jersey through Pennsylvania and then up I-81 north to Cortland.
The two only made one stop to get some gas and didn’t leave Tebow’s vehicle. They followed a member of the Jets organization who led the way the entire trip.
Smith said the cherubic Tebow “didn’t speed” and doesn’t have a heavy foot. Their major topic of conversation was the Jets and in particular the playbook.
“We did actually speak football for quite a while. The guy is very willing to try and help out any way we can, quizzing me on things to see what I know,” Smith said.
“The guy is as sharp as you want; he’s all over it. He knows his playbook. He was happy to help me out when I can. He was taking quick glances in the playbook trying to come up with ways to grill.”
Quick glances of the playbook — so Tebow doesn’t drive with both hands on the wheel? Finally, a spot of dirt on the saintly, white as snow Tebow who is vocal about his Christian faith, doesn’t curse and is waiting for marriage.
“No, no — quick glances only from Tim so he could quiz me,” Smith said laughing. “He kept both hands on the wheel the entire time.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for live updates from Jets training camp.