Thursday, February 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Mets sign Tebow to minor-league deal

NEW YORK — Having flopped with the Jets, Tim Tebow will try to revive his pro sports career as an outfielder with the Mets.

Four years removed from his last regular-season snap as an NFL quarterback, the 29-year-old who helped Florida win two national football titles and won the 2007 Heisman Trophy agreed Thursday to a minor-league contract with the Mets that includes a $100,000 signing bonus.

He will report Sept. 18 to the Instructional League in Port St. Lucie and test his baseball skills for three weeks against players just months removed from high school and college.

The Mets then will decide whether he goes to the Arizona Fall League, a winter league or gets personal tutoring to prepare for spring training.

Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan are the only significant players to have extensive careers in both Major League Baseball and the NFL during the past three decades.

"We don't have to listen to what everybody else wants us to do with our lives," Tebow said. "We get to do what we want."

Tebow can leave the Instructional League for his job as an analyst for the SEC Network, then return.

"I'm not worried about it, practically speaking," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. "Perception is something different.

"We're mindful of the fact that at age 29 Tim is starting this endeavor and there is a certain amount of realism that we have to accept.''

Alderson seemed doubtful last month. He changed his mind after Tebow worked out for scouts on Aug. 30.

"While I and the organization I think are mindful of the novel nature of this situation, this decision was strictly driven by baseball," Alderson said. "This was not something that was driven by marketing considerations or anything of the sort. We are extremely intrigued with the potential that Tim has. He has demonstrated over his athletic career that he is a tremendous athlete, has great character, a competitive spirit. And aside from the age, this is a classic player development opportunity for us."

Tebow hasn't played baseball regularly since his junior year at Nease High in Ponte Vedra, where he hit .494 and was all-county as a senior. Tebow thought outfield and first base were his most likely positions.

"I would consider success giving everything I have," Tebow said. "I would consider success putting in the work and looking back on this opportunity and this journey 10, 15, 20 years from now and saying that I did everything I could do to be the best that I could be. I don't necessarily view success or failure as how many rings or championships or promotions you get."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi will be watching Tebow's progress: "He's seen a lot of live linebackers and defensive ends chasing him but not a lot of live pitching. I'd be shocked if he's not rusty, but the Mets thought enough of him to sign him, so I'm curious. I think it's a good story."

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