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What's with all the Tebow haters ?

Let's get one thing clear, I'm not a Florida Gator fan.

I don't cheer against them, or for them. As far as I'm concerned, they are an outstanding football team, but they still fly under my radar.

I do like former quarterback Tim Tebow. The one-time Heisman trophy winner represents what is great about college football and high-profile athletes.

If Webster's Dictionary was going to reprint a new edition, Tebow's picture should be included under the definition of the word winner.

Apparently, not everybody agrees. Outside the Gator Nation there are many who don't care for the way the young man conducts his life.

Talk shows and message boards are quick to make Tim Tebow the brunt of jokes, and that's a shame.

Tebow left himself open to ridicule when he openly cried after his team lost to Alabama in the SEC title game. "After all there's no crying in football."

But who cares, Tebow is an emotional guy, and he was overcome by the moment.

In a day and age where chest thumping and an "it's all about me" attitude dominate the sports landscape, the former Florida Gator brings a refreshing team concept into the locker room.

Tebow's college football record speaks for itself. He threw 88 TDs, passed for 9,286 yards and only threw 15 interceptions.

He also was a threat to turn up field and pick up yardage with his legs. By the time he ended his career, Tebow rushed for an additional 2,947 yards,

Add on a SEC career leading 57 rushing TDs, breaking former Georgia great Herschel Walker's career record, and it all adds up to an amazing four years in a Gator uniform.

Oh yeah, don't forget his two national titles.

The next step for Tebow is the NFL.

Some so-called experts, and those who think they are experts, say he will never make it.

Many great college quarterbacks like former Georgia QB David Greene never did.

This week Tebow is getting a chance to shine at the Senior Bowl, and if you believe reports, it's not going so well.

Tebow's biggest problem could be his delivery of the football.

Some say the way he throws the ball was fine in the world of big-time college football, but will never work on Sunday's in the NFL.

I will leave that to NFL coaches and scouts to debate. They certainly know more about that aspect of the game.

But Tebow's biggest critics are those who don't like the way he stands up for his beliefs.

Yes, Tebow has strong conservative, religious values. He has been known to write Bible verses on the eye black he wears as part of his game uniform. But Tebow has never pushed his beliefs on people. Is he afraid to talk about them ?, no, but he is preachy and judgmental ? I don't think so.

People should not apologize for their religious believes, and yes, that includes Christians too.

Most recently, Tebow came under fire when it was announced he and his mom were filming a pro-life spot set to play during the Super Bowl broadcast.

Who could blame Tebow for his strong stance on abortion.

Tebow's mom was advised by her doctor's to abort her pregnancy for health reasons when she was carrying Tebow.

Obviously, she didn't, and a healthy baby and future Heisman Trophy winner was born.

There are many Tebow haters waiting for, or even hoping for him to fall off the mountain top.

If he stumbles and makes a mistake or two, there his detractors will be waiting to say, I told you so.

But Tebow is going to be just fine. He has the character and this country so desperately needs.

Only time will tell, if Tebow has a future playing in the NFL.

But one thing is for sure, he will be successful in the game of life regardless if it is on or off the gridiron.

(Doug Gorman is sports editor of the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at dgorman@news-daily.com)