Tim Tebow was thrown a curveball. Though he won the Heisman Trophy in 2007, the quarterback was let go by four NFL teams in just five years.
“There have been multiple lows, career-wise and emotionally,” the devout Christian exclusively tells Us Weekly. “Getting cut from the Patriots was a big low for me. I thought, ‘This is going to be the perfect fit. I’m going to be playing behind Tom Brady! When he retires, I’ll get a chance to go win Super Bowls.’ But God was like, ‘Wait, not so fast. That’s not the plan for you.’”
In his memoir, Shaken (out now), Tebow — currently an outfielder for the New York Mets’ minor league baseball team — opens up about moving forward.
“Tough times don’t last,” he says. “Tough people do.”
The 29-year-old shares his revival story with Us.
Us Weekly: Why share your story now?
Tim Tebow: I’ve been through a lot of highs, but not many people are able to experience and relate to them. But going through some of the lows and being vulnerable has been good for me. Hopefully, people who pick this up, if they’re going through a tough time, will walk away with their heads held high.
Us: What have you learned from your setbacks?
TT: That there’s a God who loves you and has a plan for you. It’s encouraging and it totally changes your outlook on life when you’re like, Hey, I was created in love, by love, and for love to accomplish awesome things that He prepared for me.
Us: Critics blasted your ability to throw a football and have even called you the “Kim Kardashian of sports.” What’s the worst thing you’ve read about yourself?
TT: To be honest, I don’t really read a lot about myself. I’ve never done it. You hear stuff because it’s hard not to, though. The worst was when I was meeting up with my siblings or parents, and they would be so disappointed by something they read because it affects everybody. That’s probably the hardest part.
Us: How do you shake it off and move forward?
TT: Part of me was always trying to prove the doubters wrong. But a lot of people say, “Let it go in one ear and out the other.” I just don’t even let it get to the ear. Honestly, if you stand for something and if you strive for something, there’s always going to be naysayers and they’re always going to want to bring you down. You can’t let that come in and affect your decisions or the way you want to live life. Sometimes you have to be able to laugh about things, you know?
Us: Like when you were linked to Jana Duggar?
TT: Certain stories like that you’re like, “Wait a second. I’ve never even met this person!” Sometimes stuff like that is probably more comical than it is frustrating.
Us: So why baseball?
TT: I wasn’t getting another opportunity to play quarterback. And baseball is a passion. It was surprising for people, but for me, this isn’t about the results. This is about not being afraid. Twenty years from now, I won’t have the regret of not striving for what I love.
Us: Why did you originally choose football over baseball?
TT: I love both of them, honestly. Most of my life I was probably better at baseball and it was the second hardest decision of my life to give up baseball for football. It was really tough, honestly. Baseball never left my heart. It still always had a piece.
For more on Tebow, pick up Shaken, in bookstores now, and the new issue of Us Weekly!
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!