Tim Tebow appeared to be on the verge of tears when addressing the Urban Meyer bar scandal ... saying he's praying for his friend and former coach's family during the "heartbreaking" situation.
The Heisman Trophy winner -- who played for Meyer at Florida from 2006-09 and briefly with the Jacksonville Jaguars this season -- addressed the incident on ESPN's "First Take" on Friday ... and it's clear he's distressed about it all.
Tebow says he gave advice to Urban in the days following the "very difficult week" ... suggesting he apologize, learn from and never repeat his actions.
"I know this is weighed so heavy on his heart and he is hurting," Tebow said.
"This is not something that I think anybody in his family takes slightly. This is a very serious situation, it's a very disappointing situation but I also know that coach isn't taking it lightly."
Tebow believes football can be a good outlet for Meyer to move past the situation and build up his reputation again ... adding it could help him escape the media "circus" that has been going on.
"I agree for some people they would need to take a timeout in a situation like this," he added.
"But for him, he just loves the game so much that he might be able to pour in a little bit into the game, into his team, into his coaching staff and at the same time, spend a lot of time with his family."
Tebow says Urban will work endlessly to earn his family's trust back and mend their relationship.
"I really believe at the bottom of my heart that coach loves Miss Shelley and his family so, so much and I've seen that for years and years and years. I think that this was a moment where he put himself in the wrong place and he was in the wrong state of mind and he had too much to drink and that led to bad decisions."
Urban has spoken publicly and behind closed doors with his team over the past week ... calling his actions "stupid."
Meyer's wife also quit social media after receiving hate from Internet trolls ... saying, "We all make mistakes -- we are all sinners."