Joakim Noah knows who he will be rooting for when the Denver Broncos and quarterback Tim Tebow host the Bears on Sunday.
"You've got o show Timothy a little love here," Noah said of his fellow ex-Florida Gator. "For all the haters out there, you've got to know the guy is kicking ass, making me very proud to be a Gator boy."
Noah said he and Tebow had a class together when they were both students at Florida.
"The guy is the real deal," he said. "He's very humble guy, and somebody whose teammates love him. They battle for him. He might not throw the ball great, and that's all anybody wants to talk about, but you know what? At the same time, people really underestimate the fact that his guys really go to bat for him. It was the same way at Florida. I can see it's the same way in Denver."
Noah said he's not surprised that Tebow has become a lightning rod the likes of which the NFL has perhaps never before seen.
"It's a beautiful story," he said. "He is who he is. There is no lie about who he is. He's comfortable.
"Me, personally, I have completely different beliefs than him, but at the same time I respect the fact that he speaks his truth. He's a warrior, a winner. At the end of the day, his teammates respect that. I love that. He might not be the best or a guy with that much hoopla around him, but if he wasn't a real person maybe his teammate wouldn't respect him that much."
Noah calls Tebow "Timothy" and said he sometimes salutes his former Florida alum.