Tim Tebow is set to join ESPN’s hit show “First Take,” the network announced Thursday. The news comes after Tebow failed to make the Jacksonville Jaguars roster earlier this year.
According to USA Today, Tebow will appear alongside notorious host Stephen A. Smith on “First Take” every Friday.
“Each week will culminate on Friday with Heisman Trophy Winner and SEC Network analyst Tim Tebow and Smith debating all things college football heading into Saturdays throughout the season,” ESPN wrote in a news release Thursday.
In the past, ESPN has described Tebow in a notably less positive manner. The network was particularly critical of his attempt to break into the world of professional baseball.
In January 2020, New York Mets writer Anthony DiComo announced on Twitter that Tebow was among the Mets’ non-roster invitees to Spring Training.
Mets spring non-roster invitees:
LHP David Peterson, Kevin Smith
RHP Matt Blackham, Ryley Gilliam, Stephen Nogosek, Pedro Payano, Francisco Rios, Adonis Uceta
C Austin Bossart, Patrick Mazeika, David Rodriguez
OF Tim Tebow, Ryan Cordell, Johneshwy Fargas
INF Jake Hager
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) January 9, 2020
ESPN senior staff writer David Schoenfield took the opportunity to blast Tebow and suggest he did not deserve the invite.
“Despite hitting just .163 with four home runs in 77 games at Triple-A Syracuse in 2019, the Mets have extended a spring training invitation to the 32-year-old former Heisman Trophy winner,” he wrote in January.
At the time, Tebow was working as an analyst for the SEC Network, which is owned by ESPN. Schoenfield pointed that fact out while taking yet another jab at him.
“Tebow, who works for the SEC Network as a football analyst during his baseball offseason, isn’t a legitimate prospect, given his age and lack of production,” he wrote.
“The Mets have received criticism in the past for giving Tebow playing time in the minors over other players who might actually help the Mets in the future.”
A year and a half later, ESPN found itself in a difficult position. After five years on “First Take,” Max Kellerman decided to move on to an ESPN Radio show starting Sept. 7, USA Today reported. Kellerman’s last episode of “First Take” aired Wednesday.
Unable to put Smith on the show without any co-hosts, ESPN reached out to a man the network had previously denigrated and extended him an offer to appear on one of its top shows.
In addition to Tebow, the ESPN news release said Hall of Fame NFL wide receiver Michael Irvin will appear on “First Take” every Monday to discuss NFL news ahead of ESPN’s weekly “Monday Night Football” broadcast.
Irvin will join the show every #NFL Monday
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) September 2, 2021
For the rest of the weekdays, ESPN said other analysts including Paul Finebaum, Dan Orlovsky and Mina Kimes will join Smith on the show.
Before joining the “First Take” team, Tebow attempted to return to the NFL earlier this summer as a tight end with the Jacksonville Jaguars. On Aug. 17, the Jaguars released Tebow after the team’s first preseason game, NFL.com reported. He graciously thanked them on Twitter for the opportunity to prove himself despite falling short of making the roster.
“Thank you to the @Jaguars organization and everyone who has supported me in this journey,” he wrote. “And we know that…God works all things together for good. Romans 8:28”
Thank you to the @Jaguars organization and everyone who has supported me in this journey.
And we know that…God works all things together for good. Romans 8:28
— Tim Tebow (@TimTebow) August 17, 2021
Before switching to tight end, the college star had previously spent time as a quarterback with the Denver Broncos, New York Jets, New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.
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