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Gridiron Missionary: Could Tebow Convert Russia To American Football?

Could Tim Tebow soon be genuflecting in front of Russian crowds?
Could Tim Tebow soon be genuflecting in front of Russian crowds?
Quarterback Tim Tebow may soon be taking his distinctive brand of American football to Russia.

The hugely popular player, who shot to pro fame after a swashbuckling season with the Denver Broncos in 2011, has been offered a lucrative short-term contract with the Moscow-based Black Storm.

Earlier this month the Russian club announced on its VKontake social-media profile that it was attempting to lure Tebow to the Russian capital for two games, starting on September 28.

Team spokesman Dmitry Popkov has since confirmed to RFE/RL that the Black Storm had offered Tebow a large amount of money to come play in the Russian capital, but that nothing had yet been finalized.

At the moment, there is not yet an agreement for him to come to Moscow, but negotiations are taking place," he said. "We offered him a large sum -- $1 million -- and his agent is deciding now as far as I understand."

With more than 2 million followers on both Twitter and Facebook, Tebow could do a lot to raise American football's profile in Russia should he sign for the Black Storm.
Tebow is currently out of contract.
Tebow is currently out of contract.

The charismatic quarterback is already a cult figure in the United States, even though American fans' fondness for him probably owes as much to his heart-on-his-sleeve Christianity and his unique "Tebowing" touchdown celebration -- which involves him genuflecting dramatically when he scores -- than it does to his exploits on the field.

It seems unlikely, however, that Tebow will take up the challenge of trying to help convert Russians to the joys of American football.

Although he is currently out of contract after being released by the New England Patriots in August, he seems to have already carved out a nice niche for himself as a motivational speaker in the United States.

It seems implausible that he could be tempted to abandon this burgeoning career in order to ply his trade in Russia, where games usually attract crowds in the low hundreds as opposed to the tens of thousands who turn out for NFL contests.

Efforts by RFE/RL to contact Tebow for comment on the subject via his official social-media profiles failed to elicit any response at the time of publication.

-- Coilin O'Connor with contributions from Glenn Kates

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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