Tebow declined Alliance offer from Spurrier

Former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow is batting .251 at Double-A Binghamton.Photo: Daily Record-USA TODAY NETWORK

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Steve Spurrier was a natural choice to be named the coach of the Orlando entry in the Alliance for American Football.

A star player and legendary coach at the University of Florida, Spurrier was the first coach to be announced by the new league, which is scheduled to begin play in February 2019.

Spurrier provides instant name recognition for both the league and the Florida franchise, and among his first moves was to reach out to another legend in the state -- Tim Tebow.

During an appearance on the Paul Finebaum Show on Friday, Spurrier acknowledged that he texted Tebow shortly after he was hired to gauge his interest in playing for Orlando.

"Certainly we'd love to have him," Spurrier told Finebaum, per saturdaydownsouth.com.

Tebow, who won the 2007 Heisman Trophy as a sophomore at Florida and spent three seasons in the NFL, is currently playing baseball for the New York Mets' affiliate at Double-A Binghamton. He declined the offer from Spurrier.

"He said, 'Coach, I'm gonna keep swinging the bat and see what happens,'" said Spurrier. "I told him we'd have a No. 15 down in Orlando waiting for him."

Tebow, who will turn 31 in August, entered the weekend batting .251 with five home runs and 24 RBIs in 62 games at Binghamton. He played at two levels of Class A ball in 2017, hitting .226 with eight home runs in 126 games.

A left-handed hitting outfielder, Tebow spent three seasons in the NFL -- with Denver in 2010 and 2011, and with the New York Jets in 2012. He started 16 of his 35 career games, completing less than 50 percent of his passes (173 of 361) for 2,422 yards, with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also rushed for 989 yards and 12 scores.

The AAF is a new league that is scheduled to debut in six days after the Super Bowl LIII is played in Atlanta. It currently has eight teams.

Along with Spurrier, other coaches include Brad Childress (Atlanta), Tim Lewis (Birmingham), Mike Singletary (Memphis), Rick Neuheisel (Phoenix), Dennis Erickson (Salt Lake), Mike Martz (San Diego) and Mike Riley (San Antonio).

Spurrier also was a Heisman Trophy winner as a quarterback at Florida (1966). He amassed a 122-27-1 record in 12 seasons at his alma mater, leading the Gators to 11 bowl games and a national title in 1996.

The 73-year-old Spurrier returned to the collegiate ranks at South Carolina in 2005 and led the Gamecocks to nine bowl games in 11 seasons. He abruptly walked away from the sport six games into the 2015 season, announcing his retirement effectively immediately.

In 26 seasons as a college head coach, Spurrier compiled a 228-89-2 record, including an 11-10 mark in bowl games.