Tebow insists he was never promised starting spot

Tim Tebow was a rookie with a funny haircut one year ago, his toga-party bald spot on display all over the Internet.

Tebow's trending again, but it's not for his looks.

The quarterback said Friday he felt his comments to a newspaper columnist were misconstrued and insisted he wants to earn the starting job with the Denver Broncos.

"I don't feel like anything was taken away from me and I don't want anything given," he said. "I want to work for anything I get, that's for sure. And I've always been like that."

The former Florida star caused a stir when he told a columnist for The Denver Post he felt his boyhood dream of being a starting quarterback in the NFL appeared to be imminent, then "was grabbed back away."

Incumbent starter Kyle Orton has been taking all the first-team snaps in camp. Tebow had been leading most of the second-team plays, but he rotated with Brady Quinn on Thursday and Friday.

New coach John Fox and team executives have consistently repeated the same message for months when it came to the quarterback position: Orton was atop the depth chart, but it would be a competition.

A wrinkle soon came when the Broncos held trade talks with the Miami Dolphins about Orton on the eve of camp. But since that deal went nowhere, Orton has clearly outperformed Tebow and Quinn.

Tebow, for his part, said he hasn't been given any indication from the team that it was his job.

"Absolutely not, and they never would have said anything to me like that, at all," he said. "The whole time it was 'Come in and compete,' and that's what you want, that's what I love doing."

But Tebow may be in a competition for the second spot now after splitting backup snaps with Quinn the past two days.

"We are evaluating him," Fox said of Quinn. "This is our eighth day ever as a staff, so we're getting to know the players and the players are beginning to understand us. Brady deserves an opportunity and we are going to see what we have."

Saturday figures to be a showcase for all three quarterbacks, when the Broncos scrimmage for the first time at Invesco Field. It will be interesting to see whether Quinn or Tebow runs with the backups, since there are usually three distinct groups on offense and defense at that event.

No matter, Tebow likely will hear the cheers. He remains wildly popular with the fans, who shout for him every day. And he didn't feel he needed to address his teammates about his comments in the newspaper.

"No, not really," he said. "Because I believe everybody here knows exactly how I am, my character, what I represent, how I go to work, and so I really didn't feel that way and no one said anything to me about it that was negative at all."

NOTES: Rookie RB Mario Fannin had to be carted off the field with an injury to his right knee. Fannin has been competing to make the roster as a backup behind Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee. . LB D.J. Williams has missed all live practices, participating only in a couple walkthroughs, with a hamstring injury. Fox said Williams has had "brisk workouts" and is close to returning. . OG Eric Olson hyperextended his left elbow but was able to return to practice. . Also sitting out Friday's single practice were RB LenDale White (back), WR Demaryius Thomas (Achilles'), DT Louis Leonard (knee) and DT Mitch Unrein (knee).