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Mark Brunell expects a team to sign Tim Tebow ‘very soon’: Former Jacksonville Jaguars QB says Tebow ‘great player, great guy’

by Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

Former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell, who ended his 19-year NFL career after two seasons with the New York Jets, said Wednesday that hometown QB Tim Tebow, who was cut by the Jets this week after a season, "will be with a team very soon."

"I expect a team to sign him," Brunell said before his keynote appearance at a MoneyWise Week Summit event at Epping Forest Yacht Club.

Tebow was cut by the Jets after a season in which he saw little playing time and is now a free agent. He was traded to the Jets after a season with the Denver Broncos, which chose him in the first round of the 2010 draft.

"He's a great football player," Brunell, 42, said of the 25-year-old University of Florida star and Nease High School QB who helped lead the Florida Gators to two national championships.

"I expect him to be on a team very soon," said Brunell, who didn't predict which team. "He's a great guy."

One team Tebow isn’t expected to join is the Jaguars. Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell has said he “can't imagine a scenario” where Tebow would be a Jacksonville Jaguar.

Brunell, who left the Jets at the end of the 2011 season, is a Los Angeles area native and was a star quarterback at the University of Washington. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1993 and spent two years with the team before being traded to the Jaguars before the 1995 inaugural season.

A team and community leader, Brunell was widely regarded in Jacksonville for his actions on and off the field, including creating the Brunell Family Foundation to benefit critically ill children and their families, and his faith. He was an organizer of the Southpoint Community Church.

Brunell played for 19 seasons in the NFL, including nine seasons with the Jaguars from 1995-2003 in a span that included the team's greatest on-field successes.

He was traded to the Washington Redskins before the 2004 season and spent four years there before signing with the New Orleans Saints for the 2008 season.

He spent two seasons with the Saints, earning a Super Bowl ring in the 2009 season, before finishing his career playing for two years with the New York Jets. He retired at the end of the 2011 season.

Brunell spoke to about 130 people attending a MoneyWise lunch and panel discussion. This week marks the second annual Jacksonville MoneyWise Week, which features citywide events to inform participations about financial education. The events of the week, April 28-May 5, can be found at moneywisejax.org.

Brunell alluded to his experience with financial difficulties, but didn't directly discuss it. Brunell filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code on June 25, 2010, citing failed business partnerships related to real estate investments. He listed assets of $5.5 million and liabilities of $24.7 million.

He emerged from Chapter 11 in December 2011.

In January, Brunell joined the Episcopal School of Jacksonville as head coach of the football program. He and his wife, Stacy, have four children.

Financial adviser Ben Wuerffel with Capital Analysts of Jacksonville, Florida Inc., moderated the panel discussion and also led a one-on-one interview with Brunell. Wuerffel is the brother of one of Tebow's predecessors, former Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel.

Responding to a question from the audience about his radio presence, Brunell said he was talking with the Jaguars about doing a Thursday night show this fall and might "do some TV with them, too."

"I want to do something with the Jaguars," he said. "That is my team. I love the organization from top to bottom."

The Daily Record intends to run a transcript of Wuerffel's interview with Brunell, as well as audience interaction, on Friday. Here are some edited highlights.

What was your most significant moment as a professional athlete?

When I made the team in 1993 with the Packers. That was the most significant moment, breaking into the NFL.

You played with some amazing people. Did any stand out?

Drew Brees with the New Orleans Saints will go down as one of the best quarterbacks ever.

Coming out of college, players get a giant paycheck. How should they manage their money?

They think the money will always be coming in. The average NFL career is 3.4 years. A lot of these young men … get a lot of attention. These young men are surrounded many times by people that really don't have their best interests at heart.

The mistakes I've made with my finances, you'd love to go back and redo some things.

I would love to get in front of every one of these draft picks. What are your goals? Do you have a five-year plan? Do you have a 10-year plan?

You shared a story paralleling two players and how success and failure affected them.

One was a young quarterback. It was very important that he started right. If he started poorly the whole game would be bad.

Another, you wanted this guy to have adversity early. When it got tough early on he responded very, very well. You wanted this quarterback to get sacked and get hit right in the chin. 'You're gonna hit me in the chin? I'm gonna throw four touchdown passes today.' There was such an intensity in his eyes. 'Drew is ready to go. It's game time.'

People are like that, too. Ask yourself, how do I respond to adversity?

Your definition of success has changed.

For me, success is honestly having quality relationships in my life. I'm very fortunate. I have a wonderful wife of 22 years now and our marriage is better than ever. I've got four kids that I am absolutely crazy about - 20, 18, 14, and 11. I have very good friends; I have a couple of mentors in my life that I hang on every word.

That is success for me. I am the luckiest guy in the world.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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