Tim Tebow retires from baseball after five years with Mets

FILE - In this May 16, 2019 file photo, Syracuse Mets' Tim Tebow speaks with reporters prior to a minor league baseball game in Syracuse, N.Y.  Tebow has been invited to big league spring training by the New York Mets, taking one of 75 spots after Major League Baseball limited spring roster sizes as a coronavirus precaution.   (AP Photo/John Kekis, File)
FILE - In this May 16, 2019 file photo, Syracuse Mets' Tim Tebow speaks with reporters prior to a minor league baseball game in Syracuse, N.Y. Tebow has been invited to big league spring training by the New York Mets, taking one of 75 spots after Major League Baseball limited spring roster sizes as a coronavirus precaution. (AP Photo/John Kekis, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Tim Tebow is retiring from baseball after five years as a minor leaguer with the New York Mets.

The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner returned to baseball in 2016 for the first time since his junior year of high school and reached Triple-A, encouraged by then general manager and current team president Sandy Alderson.

Tebow played 77 games at baseball's highest minor league level in 2019, batting .163 with four home runs. He finishes his career with a .223 average over 287 games.

“I want to thank the Mets, Alderson, the fans and all my teammates for the chance to be a part of such a great organization,” Tebow said in a statement released by New York on Wednesday. “I loved every minute of the journey, but at this time I feel called in other directions.

"I never want to be partially in on anything. I always want to be 100% in on whatever I choose. Thank you again for everyone’s support of this awesome journey in baseball, I’ll always cherish my time."

A lefty-hitting outfielder, the 33-year-old was invited the major league spring training this season, taking one of New York's 75 spots after Major League Baseball limited spring roster sizes as a coronavirus precaution. Position players aren't slated to report to the Mets' spring complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida, until next week.

Over four big league spring trainings, Tebow batted .151 in 34 games, connecting for his first and only homer last spring before camps were closed.

“It has been a pleasure to have Tim in our organization as he’s been a consummate professional during his four years with the Mets,” Alderson said. “By reaching the Triple-A level in 2019, he far exceeded expectations when he first entered the system in 2016 and he should be very proud of his accomplishments.”