Former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow wants to become a professional baseball player, and may have a shot at joining the Venezuelan winter league.
According to Yahoo Sports, the former Heisman Trophy winner and devout Christian QB was offered a contract by the five-time Venezuelan league champion Aguilas del Zulia on Monday. The report claims Tebow is giving consideration to playing in the league.
"He's a great talent," Aguilas general manager Luis Amaro said, according to Yahoo. "He's an athlete. He's won the Heisman. He's won two national championships. I know baseball is a hard game, but he'll either adjust and show he's ready to play pro ball or not. I think it's low risk, high reward for Zulia."
He added, "I hope he takes it. I think it'd be a lot of fun to watch. I think it would be great for the league to see him in a Zulia uniform."
Meanwhile, the 29-year-old athlete is scheduled to try out for a number of MLB teams Tuesday in Los Angeles, and more than 20 teams, including the Braves, Marlins, Red Sox and Rays, have confirmed that a representative will attend the workout, ESPN reported. As part of his workout, Tebow will run the 60-yard dash, take fly balls in the outfield, throw to the bases, take regular batting practice and live BP.
"Tim's athletic ability, his work ethic, his leadership and his competitiveness were evident in football and will show in baseball," Tebow's agent Jimmy Sexton told ESPN's Adam Schefter. "Knowing Tim's passion and desire, we won't be surprised by anything he accomplishes."
While his baseball skills have garnered the praise of many, Tebow, who currently serves as an analyst for ESPN's SEC network, hasn't actually played the sport since high school, The Associated Press reported. At Allen D. Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, Tebow earned all-state honors as a baseball player. As a junior he posted a .494 batting average and helped his alma mater reach the semi-finals in the state playoffs, according to NFL.com.
Over the past year, the athlete has worked out in Arizona and Los Angeles and worked to hone his hitting and fielding abilities, even training with former MLB pitcher David Aardsma and Chad Moeller, a former MLB catcher who played for seven different teams throughout his career.
"I am beyond impressed with Tim's athleticism and swing, and it goes without saying that he has shown a high level of discipline and strong work ethic," Moeller said in a statement. "I see bat speed and power and real baseball talent. I truly believe Tim has the skill set and potential to achieve his goal of playing in the major leagues, and based on what I have seen over the past two months, it could happen relatively quickly."
Moeller also made it clear to USA Today that Tebow is serious about playing in the MLB and does not want to be a "sideshow."
"Do I think (teams are) selfishly going to want to sell some seats? Yeah. And he knows it," Moeller said to the publication. "And that's why he really hopes (and) wants a team that thinks he can do this, and not just, 'We're going to send him to every level and sell a whole bunch of seats and sell a whole bunch of merchandise and we're just going to have a sideshow...he does want a team that actually thinks this is for real and thinks this is someone that can help us. And he's going to have to go out and perform and show he can do this. There's no way to simulate that."