Be willing to stand alone and to stand for something, former University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow told college students over the weekend.
Just days before the National Football League 2010 draft, Tebow was in Nashville inspiring students at Lipscomb University and confirming his plans to use his pro career as a platform for modeling his Christian faith.
"If you stand for something people might like you, or they might not like you, but at least you will stand for something," Tebow said Saturday during the university's Second Annual Don Meyer Evening of Excellence, according to Lipscomb. "Whatever you do, stand for something."
The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner did just that earlier this year when he participated in a pro-life commercial that aired during the Super Bowl. The commercial, created by Focus on the Family, cost him some of his sponsors.
But losing sponsors was a small price to pay for being able to present his beliefs about family and faith to the public, he told a crowd of some 5,500 people this past weekend.
The commercial, featuring Tim and his mother, Pam Tebow, had drawn fire from pro-choice groups which tried to convince CBS to pull the ad. But once the light-hearted commercial aired, few saw it as controversial.
Tebow, a two-time National Champion, has been one of the most talked about and evaluated NFL prospects for the 2010 draft, which begins Thursday. Known for painting Bible references on his black under-eye markings, Tebow views his pro career as more than just playing football.
"There is a responsibility and an obligation for me to be a good role model and set an example for the next generation," he said Saturday.
"The NFL is not the end for me," he stressed. "It is a means to an end. It will give me a platform to hopefully make a difference."
Passing on some more words of wisdom to students at the private Christian university, Tebow encouraged the young crowd to live each day with passion and to finish strong.
"Whatever I do I give my whole heart to it," he said.
"I've never been someone who likes to do a lot of fluff, to do a lot of stuff that doesn't really matter. I like to do stuff that I feel really matters like training for the sport I love, visiting kids in the hospital and going on the mission trips. I have put my heart into those things."
Tebow's parents, Bob and Pam, who are missionaries, were also featured at the Don Meyer event.