He may be one of the most famous athletes in the country, but Tim Tebow doesn’t mind playing the role of someone else on the football field.
This week with the Jets, he’s providing the defense with a pretty convincing imitation of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
It might be an advantage for the Jets that they have a player in Tebow whose game mirrors that of Roethlisberger from a physicality standpoint.
“He’s tough. He does a great job in a traditional offense, but he also does a great job staying alive,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “You have to do a tremendous job on him; you can never assume Ben is down.”
At 6-foot-5 and 241 pounds, Roethlisberger is known to be a handful to take down in the pocket and has feet that can keep the play alive. Tebow is currently listed by the Jets at 6-foot-3 and 236 pounds.
“It’s Tim being Tim. His mobility is good, he gets out of that pocket like what we’ll see in Pittsburgh. They’re both very similar, very similar,” defensive end Mike DeVito told Metro. “You can’t just run in there and dive at them.”
Tebow was a junior in high school when Roethlisberger came into the league in 2004, but even then Tebow was known for his bruising style of play. Tebow is more of an athlete than Roethlisberger and perhaps more willing to take off and run, but the similarities are there.
Tebow is among the admirers of Roethlisberger, in particular how the Steelers quarterback has built a career based on winning.
“He’s a great player, I’ve watched Big Ben a lot. Just the way he plays, the way he handles himself. I think he’s a great quarterback and obviously when you win the championships like that, you’re doing something right,” Tebow said. “He’s someone that’s also clutch. That’s one of the greatest compliments I can say about him, that when the game is on the line he’s always playing his best.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.