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Tim Tebow is just like any other Mets minor leaguer who happens to be a huge star outside of baseball

Tim Tebow listens to a question during a news conference at the New York Mets' spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Feb. 27.
(John Bazemore / Associated Press)
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Tim Tebow arrived at the New York Mets’ spring training complex on Monday and headed for the side for the minor league camp, as opposed to the part of First Data Field where the major league camp takes place.

But make no mistake about it — Tebow is no ordinary minor league player. Though his playing ability has led some to question whether he even belongs in the lower camp, the former college football and NFL star is the only non-roster invitee to hold a news conference upon his arrival.

Also, his jersey is hanging for sale at camp, next to those many of the big-league team’s stars.

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Mets Manager Terry Collins has said Tebow will be one of several minor league players who will get the opportunity to play in at least one Grapefruit League game with the big-league team.

“When they tell me that Tim’s had some at-bats, when he’s comfortable at the plate and comfortable with what he’s doing, I’ll get him over here,” Collins told the Orlando Sentinel.

Tebow was a Heisman Trophy winner and two-time national champion with the Florida Gators, and led the Denver Broncos to a playoff win before his NFL career fizzled out.

A former high school baseball star, Tebow held a showcase for MLB teams late last summer and was eventually signed to a minor league deal by the Mets. After getting off to an 0-for-13 start in the Arizona Fall League, the 29-year-old Tebow finished with a .194 batting average in 19 games, with three doubles, eight walks and 20 strikeouts in 62 at-bats.

“This guy is a special person,” Collins said. “He’s a tremendous athlete. He’s got a huge name in the sports world and he’s in our organization trying to be a baseball player, and I’m certainly not going to take anything away from that. I salute him for what he’s trying to do. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be very difficult. But he’s a tremendous competitor.”

At his news conference Monday, Tebow said he just wants to enjoy himself while pursuing his baseball dream.

“I’m not going to worry about what everyone’s writing or however I’m being marketed. For me, I just want to be able to continue the process, enjoy the process, have fun out there,” Tebow said. “I think one goal would be — better every day. The other goal is to take the progress and the things that I’ve learned the last three months and apply those every single day. Continue to build on those things.”

charles.schilken@latimes.com

Twitter: @chewkiii

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