After a busy offseason on ESPN broadcasts and getting married, Tim Tebow is ready to give his undivided attention to baseball.
Tebow, 32, will embark on his fourth spring training with the Mets next week in Port St. Lucie since signing his first minor-league contract in September of 2016. And although he’s spent time on four different Mets minor-league affiliates, Tebow is still holding on to his long-shot dream of playing in the MLB.
“I never said I’d make it or succeed, but I won’t give up on this easy,” Tebow told USA TODAY Sports. “What I’m doing is focusing on things I can control so I can look back and have no regrets. Succeeding isn’t really a choice. But fighting, scratching, clawing and believing, those are choices.”
The former quarterback, who had stints with four different NFL teams over the course of a five-year professional football career, is one of 15 non-roster invitees to Mets spring training this year. And Tebow said he’s “locked in.”
In 287 minor league games, Tebow has slashed .223/.299/.338 with 18 home runs and 107 RBIs. Injuries have derailed some of Tebow’s progress, though he played all of last season at Triple-A Syracuse and is likely begin this season there, as well. A laceration to his left pinky in late July cut his 2019 season short and a broken bone in his right hand ended his 2018 campaign prematurely as well.
“Baseball is something that means a lot to me,” Tebow said. “It’s a hard game that I picked up after 12 years of not playing it (seriously). I’ve definitely gone through lows with injuries to both hands, and gone through some slumps. But then I’ve also had my highs – hitting home runs and getting hot in the Double-A All-Star game.”
Tebow made a name for himself while playing football for Florida, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2007 before the Broncos drafted him 25th overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. His transition to baseball made headlines, considering the divisive star status he carries with him.
While playing for Double-A Binghamton before his injury in 2018, Tebow hit a career-high .273/.336/.399 with a three-run home run in his first at-bat for the Rumble Ponies. Tebow went on to compete in the Eastern League All-Star game.
But of all the stages in his life, Tebow believes he’s had to be the most resilient in baseball.
“It’s more important to me to be someone who is resilient, a fighter and believer,” Tebow said. “That’s the type of man I aspire to be, not just in baseball. Whether you’re at the top of the (mountain) or bottom of the valley I want to be the same person who doesn’t change based on circumstances.”