According to multiple reports and subsequent confirmations, the Patriots have reached an agreement to sign former Broncos first-round pick and Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow.
Reports indicate that Tebow is already on his way to Foxborough and that he'll be in attendance at the team's mandatory veteran mini-camp which will be open to the media at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday.
While there will be obvious speculation as to what Tebow's role might be in New England, ESPN has already reported that the team has indeed signed him as a quarterback. Other media outlets have posed the idea that the versatile athlete could be used as a tight end.
Just as the Tebow signing was being reported, New England actually released third-string quarterback Mike Kafka. That would tend to indicate that Tebow will at least begin his time in New England as a quarterback as the team would be unlikely to have just two passers – Tom Brady and backup Ryan Mallett – the field for the mini-camp action that includes nearly 90 players working out.
The Tebow signing comes just days after Patriots head coach Bill Belichick strangely refuted a month-old internet report that said he "hated" Tebow as a player. This signing is quite obviously the best way to dispute that notion.
But Belichick isn't the only support Tebow likely has at Gillette Stadium. Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was the head coach in Denver when that team surprisingly used a first-round pick on the left-handed former Heisman Trophy winner out of Florida.
After McDaniels was fired by the Broncos in just his second season in Denver, and despite Tebow leading the Broncos to a playoff berth and upset victory over the Steelers, John Elway and the new regime traded Tebow to the Jets. He saw limited action last fall in New York and was more of a sideshow and media circus than anything else, earning him his release this offseason. Tebow was actually used as a punt protector among his other duties in his one year in the Big Apple.
In his three NFL seasons Tebow has played in 35 games. He's completed just 47.9 percent of his passes, struggling with accuracy and consistency even when leading the Broncos to the postseason. He has 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions with a career rating of just better than 75. He did rush for 660 yards and six touchdowns with a 5.4-yard average in his one year as the Denver starter.
While Tebow is clearly not vying for the starting job in New England – Brady seems pretty secure there even against a guy with the type of inexplicable cult-like following that Tebow brings – he will have the chance to compete with Mallett (who actually already owns Tebow's trademark No. 15 in New England) for reps. Immediate talk radio speculation after Tebow news broke was that he might be the long-term heir to Brady, given time to develop under him and under the tutelage of McDaniels.
Though Tebow's role, position and future in New England are up for debate, one thing that isn't is the type of spotlight he works under. There will be more media at mini-camp this week and training camp will be more of a spectacle as long as the polarizing figure that is Tebow remains on the roster. That shouldn't be an issue though, as the Patriots are as good as any team under Belichick's controlling style of keeping those types of concerns in check. Belichick and Brady will ensure that there are no circus-like distractions, while Tebow's time in the limelight will likely be limited (right Ochocinco?), unlike it was in his short stay in New York.
Tim Tebow is apparently a Patriot. That's such big news that it made the Drudge Report. Things just got a bit more interesting in Foxborough.
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