Which one of those players you named were on a level of popularity that matches Tebow? None of them are even remotely close. And who's to say that the others aren't? They're just not on the same platform.
You're right. Barry fricking Sanders was no where near as popular as Tebow.
He definitely received criticism in college for religion... remember when he used to wear the scripture on the eye black? shite hit the fan pretty quick with that IIRC, and it resulted in banning all writing on eye black. It sure wasn't Reggie Bush's '619' causing issues
Actually it was dudes putting all sorts of other random shite.
And a source from Fox News claiming Christian persecution? Shocking, considering that they still perpetuate the lie known as the "War on Christmas".
But back to the first point.
The reason that Kitna wasn't criticized while Tebow was is because Kitna wasn't hyped to the same level as Tebow. Danny Wuerffel was and is very, very religious and outwardly Christian. He wasn't criticized like Tebow.
It's not the faith aspect of things. It's the hype that was built up around him and the media's decision to follow his every move.