(Photo: REUTERS/Mike Segar)
As the New York Jets ready for the start of summer practice, recently acquired player Tim Tebow may bring in large crowds for their day-to-day drills.
Church groups are apparently calling up officials at the State University of New York at Cortland, where the Jets will be holding their three training camps in four years.
Jim Dempsey of the Cortland County Convention and Visitors Bureau told local media that he had received several calls from groups interested in seeing Tebow.
"A couple months ago, I got a call from a church group, then another and I thought it was interesting, not groups we normally get calls from," said Dempsey in an interview with The New York Daily News.
"Right now, we have no way of knowing how many more groups will come because of Tim Tebow … But we expect a lot."
The expectation of a large crowd is to be expected, as events featuring the devout Christian football player have drawn throngs of people.
In April, Tebow delivered an Easter sermon at an outdoor service hosted by the Celebration Church in Georgetown, Texas, which featured over 15,000 guests.
Last month, Tebow spoke at a Father's Day event at the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, drawing an estimated 26,000 attendees.
Tebow got his start in the National Football League as a quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Tebow gained many headlines regarding his convictions and started a major pop culture craze with "Tebowing," which was the kneeling position he took when praying during the games.
Despite receiving criticism for his athletic abilities, Tebow would lead the Broncos to an AFC West title and an entry into the playoffs for the first time in six years.
In March, the Broncos signed Peyton Manning as their new lead quarterback, making Tebow available to other NFL teams, according to NY Jets writer Randy Lange.
"Among the teams reported to be interested in trading for the 6'3," 245-pounder from Florida, were the Jags, Packers and Dolphins," wrote Lange.
After some uncertainty, Tebow was drafted by the Jets. After the deal was finalized, Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum told media via conference call that Tebow is "a winner."
"This is an opportunity to add a dynamic playmaker and we're really excited about it," said Tannenbaum.
"Like any deal, you try find a landing spot. Sometimes you find it, sometimes you don't. This one took a lot longer than we thought it would but we feel really good about the results."