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Lions' Stafford happy for 'old rival' Tim Tebow

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Tim Tebow

Matthew Stafford and Tim Tebow were in the SEC together for three years and the two quarterbacks squared off twice.

In the first meeting in 2007, Stafford's Georgia team beat Tebow's Florida squad, 42-30. The next year, Tebow's Gators exacted revenge with a 49-10 win over the Bulldogs, and Florida went on to win the national title.

Even though they used to be foes, Stafford said Tuesday he's glad Tebow signed with the Philadelphia Eagles this week after he spent the entire 2014 season as a free agent.

"Happy for him," Stafford said. "He's an old rival, but I'm happy for him."

Tebow has been a lightning rod in NFL circles since the Broncos drafted him 25th overall in 2010, a year after the Lions drafted Stafford first overall.

Tebow had some success in his second year, going 7-4 as a starter in Denver. He also helped lead the Broncos to a playoff win over the Steelers in the wild-card round with an 80-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas in overtime.

But Tebow completed just 46.5 percent of his passes in 2011, and when the Broncos acquired quarterback Peyton Manning in free agency, they traded Tebow to the New York Jets. After an unsuccessful 2012 with the Jets, Tebow spent the 2013 offseason with the New England Patriots, but didn't make the roster out of training camp.

"Any time guys get chances in this league, I'm excited, excited for him," Stafford said. "I know it's something that he's worked extremely hard for, so we'll see what happens."

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

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