Tebow Happy to be Back on the Field

Tim Tebow

BATON ROUGE, La. -- For the last two weeks, the big topic surrounding the Florida Gators is whether quarterback Tim Tebow would play against LSU in Baton Rouge, La. That question was answered on the first offensive play for the Gators when Tebow jogged out with the rest of the offense. Although he was playing, he did not seem to be playing with his usual tough style.

Florida coach Urban Meyer made sure to keep Tim Tebow from playing with his normal reckless abandonment.

"I said I am not going to go out there and play tentative or scared. That's just not me. I'll play hard, but smart. I will step out of bounds or get down and not try and fight," Tebow said. "I think I did a good job of getting down and being smart, and I think I avoided some of the hits I would take."

That doesn't mean he was afraid of getting hit. In fact, he enjoyed getting hit after not being allowed any contact since he suffered the concussion. On the first drive, the Tigers cornerback Patrick Peterson nailed Tebow on a blitz, but it had the opposite affect on Tebow than one might expect.

"Actually, I liked it, because it was the first time I got hit and everything was ok, so I was like, ‘Alright, I'm ready to go,'" he said.

Although he tried to play smart, there were flashes of his usual self. The most obvious glimpse came on a first down in the third quarter when he eluded multiple pass rushers and took off running until he was finally brought down by two defenders.

"That let me play a little more like me," Tebow said.

The toughest thing for him might have been the plane ride from Gainesville to Baton Rouge.

"All the tests that I went through, then after our plane flight which had so much turbulence on the way here, I was like I'm good to go."

He also had a tough time dealing with just hitting around not playing football for most of the last two weeks.

"I could see the stress it put on my friends my family, teammates, just different people who are worried about me," Tebow said. "Being all right, making sure my head was OK. That was the toughest thing to deal with, putting them through that hard time."

But when it came time to play, there were no questions in his mind. There was nothing that could keep him off the field once he got clearance from the medical staff.

"When it happened and I was sittng in the hospital at night, I thought 'yeah, I'll be OK. Maybe I'll miss a few practices, but I'll be back,'" Tebow said. "Then you just drug on a little longer. I didn't know how to deal with that situation.

"Once I went through all those tests and everything, I thought I'd be good to play."

One of the best parts about playing for him was redeeming the 2007 loss in Baton Rouge.

"This place is one of my favorite places to play in, it's incredible," Tebow said.

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