And that shouldn't be too hard considering a Forbes.com survey released in early May named Tebow as America's most influential athlete. Despite the controversy surrounding his public faith, Tebow, with 29 percent of the vote, finished ahead of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, at 25 percent; Jamaican track star Usain Bolt, 23 percent; and Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, 22 percent.
"That's a huge honor," Tebow said in response to the survey. "I see it as a great responsibility to be a role model for future generations. That's something I care about more than winning football games. If I can take the game of football and can transcend football -- go to hospitals and make kids smile -- I'll be doing things that matter."
Although Tebow didn't mention his dismissal from the Jets during his hour-long speech or offer any insight as to what his next move might be, the 25-year-old did talk about finding a life of fulfillment after the game.
"What I want to do with my life is impact lives," he said. "When a kid in a hospital is fighting for his life and I'm trying to win a football game, what really matters? This game isn't as important as a lot of us make it out to be. If I can give him a little bit of hope, I can do something that matters. That's what I want my legacy to be about. That's how I want to be remembered."
Tebow took no questions from the press at the May 9 event, which was part of the Economic Club of Southwest Michigan's annual speaker series. During his presentation at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, he sat on stage and engaged in an easygoing conversation with a moderator, speaking intensely of his competitive nature, his Christian faith, his love of family, and his record-setting high school and college careers.
Reprinted from WORLD News Service, a division of WORLD Magazine (www.worldmag.com).
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