(Photo: REUTERS / Doug Murray)
How would Tim Tebow's fancy footwork on the gridiron translate to the ballroom? "Dancing with the Stars" performer Karina Smirnoff wants to find out.
Smirnoff celebrated her 34th birthday on Saturday in Las Vegas, and told a reporter from People that all she wanted as a gift is for the Denver Broncos quarterback to join the cast of the reality show.
"All I want for my birthday is for Tim Tebow to dance on 'Dancing with the Stars,'" she said, shortly after Denver's season ended in an AFC Divisional playoff loss to the New England Patriots.
"He can run, jump, pass, throw touchdowns," she stated. "All [that] is missing is to see if he has the dance skills. That would make him an all-around athlete and someone that I would love to dance with on the show."
But the Broncos website says Tebow, an outspoken Christian, is six-foot three-inches and 235 pounds, so is he too big for dancing?
Karen L. Gates, owner of the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, doesn't think so. She told The Christian Post on Friday that professional male dancers are often thinner than Tebow is, and his height could also present a problem depending on how short his partner is, but it could be done.
Tebow wouldn't be the first NFL player to hit the DWTS dance floor, either. Former NFL running back Emmitt Smith and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward have each won the competition. Other NFL players, like Jerry Rice, Jason Taylor and Warren Sapp, have finished in second place on DWTS.
Gates says football players have several advantages when learning how to dance, which include their athleticism and ability to memorize.
"They're used to the mental challenges and memorizing plays," she said, comparing it to memorizing dance steps. She also stated that Tebow has the additional advantage of being "popular" and "good-looking."
Despite the fact that the current NFL season is now over for Tebow, he has continued to make headlines in the days following the Broncos' defeat.
An NFL source told ESPN this week that Tebow played through considerable pain during the second half of Saturday's game, after he was hit in the third quarter. He reportedly tore cartilage on his rib, bruised a lung and had fluid buildup in his pleural cavity.
"I just wanted to show character. You just continue to fight and it doesn't change who you are, how you play, how you go out there, you should be the same at all times," Tebow said about being hurt, according to ESPN.
"That's what I wanted to show, it didn't matter if it was the first play or the last play or you were down by 42. I was going to be the same player and I was still going to give everything I have, because that's all I have to give."
John Elway, executive vice president of football operations for the Broncos, also announced on Monday that Tebow would be the team's starting quarterback going into training camp for next season.
Tebow went 8-5 as the team's starting quarterback in the 2011-2012 season, including the playoffs, after the team went just 1-4 under former Denver QB Kyle Orton. Some have wondered whether or not Tebow would start next season, and Elway's announcement quickly laid to rest any speculation.
"We know what kind of mentality Timmy has," Elway said during a press conference. "He's a great worker, and we know he'll work his tail off this offseason. We're looking forward to this offseason to be able to see him improve in (the mechanics of the passing game). I think he will make those improvements."
Tebow's job is safe for now, but in terms of some offseason fun it is still unclear as to whether or not DWTS fans will get to see him cha-chaing on the dance floor anytime soon.
The season premiere of "Dancing with the Stars" is scheduled for Monday, Mar. 19 at 8 p.m. ET.