Tim Tebow is movin’ on up. The former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback is being promoted to St. Lucie of the high-A League.
The promotion comes despite his .222 batting average and 69 strikeouts in 63 games for the Columbia Fireflies.
Originally a third-round pick of the Packers in the 2014 NFL Draft, the former Southern Miss defender joined the Lions in 2015. After playing sparingly for the Lions in his first season, he started six games last year to earn a new deal.
The 6-3, 315-pound Panama City, Fla., native recorded 18 tackles, 13 of them solo stops, and a sack last season.
He was released by the Packers prior to the start of the 2015 season and signed by the Patriots, who waived him twice over the next six weeks. The Lions then claimed him on Oct. 25, 2015.
The two-year deal Thornton signed in May is worth $3.3 million and included a $325,000 signing bonus.
Thornton will still be able to participate in training camp and preseason games.
Not having Thornton for the first six games of the regular season will hurt Detroit’s defensive tackle rotation and could mean more playing time for 33-year-old veteran Haloti Ngata and second-year player A’Shawn Robinson, as well as former Buccaneers DT Akeem Spence, who signed with the Lions in March. The Lions also selected former Arkansas defensive lineman Jeremiah Ledbetter in the sixth round, and he might have a better chance now of making the initial 53-man roster.