Even though they are two of the most famous athletes to come from Jacksonville, Tim Tebow and Chipper Jones have never met.
That might change soon.
The New York Jets quarterback and the Atlanta Braves third baseman are partnering to open a D1 Sports Training facility in Orlando. It will house an indoor turf field and a state-of-the-art weight room to go with a sports medicine and therapy clinic run by Orlando Orthopaedic Center, which also is an owner.
"I haven’t met Tim. I hope to in the very near future," Jones said before Wednesday’s game at Miami. "He’s probably the most recognizable figure in America right now. We’re from the same area in Jacksonville. I know he comes from a good family.
"His faith is as strong as anybody you’ll ever meet. And I don’t even know him, you know? So that’s my impression of him from afar. That being said, I’m a long-time loyal Gator, and he can do no wrong in my eyes."
Tebow trained at D1 Nashville prior to the 2010 NFL draft. He became a co-owner of D1 Savannah in April 2011 and joined Jones as a co-owner in D1 Tampa in January.
"It’s one of those business opportunities that comes along," Jones said. "D1 in Tampa has done really well. Other D1s around the southeastern United States have done well. It’s a chance for young kids to get some constructive exercise from professional athletes."
They could get some tips from Tebow, too. Tebow is scheduled to hold a members-only training event June 24 at the new facility, which will officially open the next day.
D1 has 15 other locations. D1 has partnered with star athletes such as Peyton Manning, Ndamukong Suh, Philip Rivers, Herschel Walker and Heather Mitts, along with physicians, to open facilities that work out and provide physical therapy to people of all abilities 7 or older to train as if they’re preparing to be Division-I athletes.