Football not first priority for Floridas Tim Tebow
Opponents on the Gridiron—Brothers in Christ
Jul 30, 2009
By JAMES A. SMITH SR.

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A major in Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Tebow says that he is "trying to take advantage" of the educational opportunity he has at the University of Florida—the alma mater of his parents.

Although his parents have counted Florida-Georgia as the school's biggest rivalry, Tebow relishes the game against the Seminoles since the game often played a pivotal role in the national championship aspirations of both schools during the time he grew up as a Gator fan. It's no surprise, then, that former Gator quarterback and 1996 Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel is Tebow's role model, both on and off the field.

"I saw how he treated people and learned to treat everyone how I wanted to be treated," Tebow said. "He was such a positive role model both on the field, academically and spiritually and would always make time for people by signing autographs, taking pictures with them ... ." 

UF photo
Today, Wuerffel, the former NFL quarterback for the Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints, leads Desire Street Ministries that seeks to rebuild impoverished New Orleans neighborhoods through spiritual and community development.

For Tebow, staying spiritually grounded includes leading a Bible study in his apartment on Sunday nights. Attended mostly by fellow football players, Tebow said the athletes "spend time talking about the Lord."

Although Mac Brunson, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, has not known Tebow very long, he is impressed with the joy and humility that marks the young man.

"I really think that he has a heart full of joy," Brunson told the Witness. "He's always smiling. He always seems to be upbeat."

Tim Tebow takes time away from University of Florida in July to play Goliath in a children’s musical at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, his home church. Courtesy photo
Brunson said that Tebow spoke at the church's annual pastors' conference last year and impressed evangelist Junior Hill who told Brunson it was "the best testimony I have ever heard from an athlete."

Tebow's commitment to the church was illustrated in July when he played Goliath opposite a six-year-old boy as David in the church's children's musical. "I think he just got a kick out of doing that with those children," Brunson said.

"When I think of Tim, I think of a young man who is incredibly talented, who is sharp academically and is deep spiritually and is humble in all of it," Brunson added.

Asked by the Witness how Christians can pray for him, Tebow said that although it would be "great" if people prayed for him, "there are many other things in the world to focus upon today, especially in their own families."

Tebow added, "I am no different than anyone else in the room, despite what people may think, because I am a Gator football player. It is important for each person to sit down and be honest about making priorities and being true to themselves."

 

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