Sideline Report: Should athletes cross sports?

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Senior Braden Shaw proves to be the biggest sports fan. Ever.

Braden Shaw, JagWire editor-in-chief

Tim Tebow is the epitome of a polarizing figure. He has garnered countless hours of coverage from every sports news outlet due to his devout faith and all around “good guy” persona. His college football career at the University of Florida was superb, although many doubted his transition to the National Football League.

Yes, his ability to scramble outside the pocket was a strength, especially since his throwing motion was lackluster at best. He also managed to win the AFC West in 2011 and a playoff game with the Denver Broncos in 2011.

He bounced around the NFL to the New York Jets, New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, becoming an eternal publicity stunt. After awhile, the Tebow phenomenon wore off and so did his short playing career in the NFL. Before you knew it, Tebow was covering college football on ESPN on Saturdays instead of trying to play on Sundays. I thought this was how it would be for old Tim Tebow.

Then I get word that he is trying to break into Major League Baseball. Not only is he trying, but after a workout for numerous MLB scouts, Tebow signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets. Instead of surveying opposing defenses in the pocket, Tebow will now patrol the outfield for a team clearly wanting to make headlines.

Tebow claims it’s not a publicity stunt and he just wants to play ever so badly. But it seems all too coincidental. The guy hasn’t played baseball since his high school days 11 years ago. It’s safe to say he’s a little rusty.

This isn’t the first time someone has crossed from football to baseball or vice versa. The likes of NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, NBA legend Michael Jordan and most notably Bo Jackson who was a star outfielder for the Kansas City Royals and running back for the Oakland Raiders.

Jackson was arguably the greatest athlete who ever lived. The plays he could make on both a football field and baseball diamond were unbelievable. He was also one of the most marketable athletes with the “Bo Knows” Nike advertisements. Heck, if he had focused on one over the other he’d probably be in either Canton or Cooperstown.

But Jackson’s stardom was fleeting, as a hip injury suffered while playing football essentially ruined his athletic careers, derailing his hopes and dreams. There’s a reason people don’t play multiple sports professionally, especially with the tenacity and intensity that Jackson did.

Now, I am in no way comparing Tebow’s athleticism to Jackson’s. All I’m saying is that it’s extremely difficult to cross professional sports. Tebow does have an advantage that he doesn’t currently have an ongoing football career to juggle with this, but it’s still a stretch to think of him as a baseball player.

Professional athletes take years of dedication, hard work and natural talent to excel in their particular sport. You can’t just wake up one day and hope to play professional baseball. It’s extremely difficult and almost insulting to those who have earned a spot on a roster.

So, unless the next Bo Jackson shows up, I don’t see anyone truly being able to play multiple professional sports. Tebow’s already got a nice job covering his favorite conference, the SEC. Maybe he should stick to the sidelines instead of “reliving the glory days.”

At least he’s a stand-up guy, right?

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