Why Tim Tebow chases his dream

Story highlights

  • Tim Tebow has tried with three other NFL teams and failed, so what keeps him coming back?
  • Coy Wire says Tebow is like any other athlete who will not let the dream die
  • Wire: "Giving up on a dream isn't easy ... one that becomes your passion and then becomes you"

CNN sports anchor Coy Wire played nine years in the NFL, serving as team captain for both the Buffalo Bills and the Atlanta Falcons. As a college player at Stanford University, he was his team's leading rusher as a freshman; after switching to defense, he was the team's leading tackler as a junior. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)Why would Tim Tebow give up a great on-camera gig with ESPN to take another crack at the NFL, after being away from the game for almost two years? He's got great exposure, big-money endorsement deals and a huge platform to share his inspiring ways.

The answer is simple: Tim Tebow isn't willing to let his dream -- playing quarterback in the NFL -- die, because if it does he knows that part of him dies, too.
Tebow can't become a broadcaster yet. He's still addicted to chasing his dream and pursuing his passion.
    The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner played briefly for the Denver Broncos, the New York Jets and the New England Patriots, who released him in 2013. The Phladelphia Eagles announced recently that they'd signed him to a one-year contract.
    Coy Wire
    Giving up on a dream isn't easy. It's especially difficult when it's a dream you've had since childhood -- one that becomes your passion and then becomes you.
    It's the reason Brett Favre couldn't stay away from football. Battered and beaten, he came out of retirement and played three more years -- joining the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings. Seeing him take vicious hits and wear helmets without a Packers' "G" on the side just didn't seem right.
    It's the reason Michael Jordan retired -- twice -- from the game he loved and from the Chicago Bulls, only to make one more run with the Washington Wizards. Remember that? Aside from the '85-'86 and '94-'95 seasons, when he only played 18 and 17 games respectively, his two years with the Wizards were the worst of his career statistically. Many asked, "Why'd ya come back, Michael, why?"
    I think I might know why.
    I played nine years in the NFL. After having a titanium plate and four screws put in my neck after my sixth season, I thought my career was over. But the Atlanta Falcons came knocking and I had a decision to make.
    The doctor told me that my fifth and sixth vertebrae were fused firmly together -- that nothing would harm that -- but if I continued to play, the vertebrae above and below that would take all the extra force. There would be a strong chance that the discs between those adjacent vertebrae would become herniated and I'd likely need more surgeries at some point. After thinking about it for about five minutes, I disregarded common sense and decided to play anyway, for three more years.
    The doctor was right. Two more bulging discs (one above, one below my titanium plate) became the reasons that I eventually had to retire.
    Now, my neck burns and aches every day. I get headaches, too. I don't want to get another surgery -- it was awful -- so I'm holding off.
    "Why did I play after that surgery?" is the question I often ask myself when my neck throbs, even though I know the answer: Playing football was my passion -- it's who I was -- and I couldn't let it go.
    No matter the profession or pastime, when you spend years pursuing your passion, living it and breathing it every day, it becomes you. When your passion is taken from you, so is your sense of self -- and that's scary as hell.
    Sure, you could get into other careers, but nothing can compare to your passion. You're fortunate if you're able to find a second passion in life. Nobody ever asks you, "What's the second thing you want to be when you grow up?"
    Tebow can't walk away from chasing his passion and pursuing his dream of becoming an NFL quarterback.
    Tebow doesn't want to play in any league other than the NFL. Asking him to play in any other league would be like asking Serena Williams to take a crack at ping pong for a while.
    He doesn't want to be a role player either -- playing fullback, tight end, special teams or only in special situations. That would be like telling Russell Westbrook he can play basketball but he can't drive to the rack, or telling Miguel Cabrera that he can play baseball but he's only allowed to bunt.
    Tebow's innate passion hasn't left him and he's determined to become that which he believes he's destined to be: an NFL quarterback. He won't settle for anything less.
    I imagine that Tebow still gets goosebumps from the smell of freshly cut grass. I'd guess his internal clock starts ticking every year at this time as football season is just months away. I'd bet that traveling to college football games last year as an analyst -- being so close to his passion but not being able to play -- was torturous for him.
    I hope this new opportunity allows Tebow to showcase his unique set of abilities once again. I hope he gets to relive his dream and play in his passion for a little while longer, because once it's gone, it's gone forever. A quote in "The Great Gatsby" said it best: "All the bright precious things fade so fast and they never come back."
    Tim Tebow isn't willing to let his dream die, because if it does, he knows that part of him dies, too.