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Tim Tebow, the philanthropist

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(AP Photo/Derek Gee)

(Read caption) Denver Broncos Tim Tebow meets with Jacob Rainey prior to the start of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y., in December.

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Forget Tim Tebow, the star athlete and starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos.

Forget his on-field genuflections, the Bible quotes, and the fourth-quarter "miracles."

Let's look at Tim Tebow, the philanthropist.

For all the controversy around his public prayers or his readiness to lead an NFL team to a Super Bowl, few can fault Tim Tebow's acts of kindness.

Just before each football game, when most pro-athletes put on their "game face" and ignore teammates and family members, the Denver Broncos quarterback makes it a point to visit with a struggling fan.

Minutes before the start of last Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tebow took time to chat  with 16-year-old Bailey Knaub, a girl who has had 73 surgeries. In Buffalo, on Dec. 24,  Jacob Rainey, a young football player who had lost his leg, was the beneficiary of Tebow's pre- and post-game attention. This Saturday, Tebow will meet with 20-year old Zack McLeod on the sidelines as part of The Tebow Foundation's Wish 15 program that grants requests for young people with serious medical issues.

Aren't such charitable activities a distraction from his chosen profession, asked ESPN columnist Rick Reilly.

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