Tim Tebow already leads the NFL in one category: jersey sales.
His Denver Broncos No. 15 was by far the most popular on the NFL’s website for April. His celebrity clearly trumps the debate over whether he’ll ever make it as an NFL quarterback after winning the Heisman Trophy and two national championships at Florida.
Tebow is, at best, third on Denver’s depth chart at QB. But the 25th pick of the first round still had the best-selling rookie jersey since the NFL started keeping track in 2006. Thirty percent of the orders came from Florida.
The Broncos were tops in the league in merchandise sales on NFLShop.com in April after ranking 10th for the year ending March 31 — and without any other Denver player’s jersey in the top 25.
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The draft’s top pick, the St. Louis Rams’ Sam Bradford, was at No. 9, behind not just Tebow but the second selection, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. The new Detroit Lion, who ranked eighth, is the only lineman in the top 25.
April’s No. 2 seller was an old quarterback on a new team: the Redskins jersey of Donovan McNabb. McNabb’s Eagles jersey wasn’t even in the top 25 for the year ending March 31, trailing even teammate Michael Vick.
His trade to Washington has sparked not just interest in McNabb but in his replacement in Philadelphia, Kevin Kolb. Ready to make his debut as a full-time starter, Kolb was No. 12 in the April rankings.
Just as eye-catching is the drop in jersey sales for a quarterback in the news for very different reasons: Ben Roethlisberger. The Pittsburgh Steelers star, a longtime mainstay among the league’s most popular jerseys, ranked 11th for the year ending March 31.
He’s nowhere to be seen in the top 25 for April, a month when he was suspended without pay for six games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
BIG DEAL FOR EVANS
Once a fourth-round draft choice out of Division II Bloomsburg, Jahri Evans is now the highest-paid interior lineman in the NFL.
The Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints and Evans, who was both an All-Pro and Pro Bowler last season, agreed on a seven-year contract worth nearly $57 million.
A Minnesota judge says he will issue his decision today in a closely watched lawsuit by two Minnesota Vikings challenging their four-game suspensions for violating the NFL’s anti-doping policy. The NFL tried to suspend defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams in 2008 after they tested positive for a diuretic that’s banned because it can mask the presence of steroids. They say they didn’t know it was an unlisted ingredient in the StarCaps weight-loss supplement they took. ... A legislative proposal to build a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings is on shaky ground. The team is seeking a $791 million new stadium to get out of the aging Metrodome. A committee in the Minnesota House voted against the plan and a Senate committee overhauled the bill Wednesday before approving it. ... Former New York Giants defensive end George Martin has been elected chief executive officer and president of NFL Alumni, Inc. … A jury awarded former Dolphins wide receiver O.J. McDuffie $11.5 million in his lawsuit against a prominent physician over a career-ending toe injury.