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Tim Tebow retires from pro baseball after three seasons in Mets' minor-league system

The Mets' Tim Tebow talks to the media

The Mets' Tim Tebow talks to the media during a spring training workout on Feb. 16, 2020, at Clover Park in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

Tebow Time is over.

Tim Tebow announced his retirement from professional baseball Wednesday night, ending an experiment that began in September 2016, when the former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback signed a minor-league contract with the Mets — his first baseball action since high school, more than a decade prior.

"I want to thank the Mets, Mr. Alderson, the fans and all my teammates for the chance to be a part of such a great organization," Tebow, 33, said in a statement released by the Mets. "I loved every minute of the journey, but at this time I feel called in other directions.

"I never want to be partially in on anything. I always want to be 100 percent in on whatever I choose. Thank you again for everyone’s support of this awesome journey in baseball, I’ll always cherish my time as a Met."

Tebow making it to the majors always was a longshot, and he proved not to be particularly good at baseball — underscoring just how difficult the sport is, even for an elite college athlete who went pro in another sport.

In three minor-league seasons, he hit .223 with a .299 OBP and .338 slugging percentage. He reached Triple-A — the last step before the majors — in 2019. His best season was 2018, when he was an All-Star in the Double-A Eastern League.

Because the 2020 minor-league season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, Tebow did not play last year. His 2019 and 2018 seasons were cut short due to injuries, which allowed him to continue his ESPN college football broadcast duties unimpeded.

"It has been a pleasure to have Tim in our organization as he’s been a consummate professional during his four years with the Mets," said team president Sandy Alderson, who as general manager brought Tebow to the Mets in part as a marketing/entertainment ploy. "By reaching the Triple-A level in 2019, he far exceeded expectations when he first entered the system in 2016 and he should be very proud of his accomplishments."

In addition to playing baseball, Tebow in recent years has pursued careers as a broadcaster, author and motivational speaker. He also has his Tim Tebow Foundation and last year married Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, a former Miss Universe.

Last February, during what turned out to be his final spring training, Tebow was philosophical — and realistic — admitting that "of course" he had doubt about his baseball career.

"It’s not something I want to do forever," Tebow said. "There’s a lot of things I want to do that I’m also very passionate about.

"What do you do with that doubt? What do you do with uncertainty? Or what do you do when you feel like you’re struggling at something? That’s important, because we all have that in our lives in places and at times when we’re going through things — and ultimately, in a lot more important situations than sports."

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