Tim Tebow finally has a new team.
The New England Patriots announced the signing of the polarising quarterback with the poor throwing motion yesterday, six weeks after he was cut by the New York Jets and just in time for the start of a three-day minicamp.
"Anything we do, we feel is in the best interests of the team," coach Bill Belichick said at a standing-room-only news conference before practice. "We'll see how it goes."
With 15 video cameras and more than 40 media members in the audience, Belichick said, "We've been in front of bigger crowds before."
Tebow, 25, is being reunited with Josh McDaniels, the Patriots offensive coordinator who was Denver's head coach when the Broncos traded into the first round to take him with the 25th draft pick in 2010.
There is no guarantee Tebow will still be with the Patriots when training camp begins next month, but if the Patriots keep him, he would have time to develop as a quarterback since Tom Brady holds that job.
Tebow could even be tried out at tight end, where the status of Rob Gronkowski is uncertain after he had his fourth operation on his broken left forearm on May 20 and faces back surgery this month.
Asked if Tebow would be used at quarterback, Belichick, in his usual low-key manner, said, "we're going to do what we think is best for our football team. We'll see."
He also said during the news conference lasting about nine minutes that Tebow is "a talented guy. He's smart. He works hard."
Tebow's NFL career appeared to be over when the Jets released him on April 29 and no team rushed to sign him. But Belichick decided to bring in the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner who led Florida to two national championships.
"I'm happy for the young man to get another opportunity in the league and things like that. We've already mentioned that it didn't work out here," New York coach Rex Ryan said. "Obviously, Tim had more success in Denver than he did here."
After the NFL draft, in which they selected quarterback Geno Smith from West Virginia, the Jets decided to release Tebow just more than a year after a dressed-up, high-profile press conference that welcomed him to the organisation.
New York went 6-10 last season, lost their final three games and finished tied for last place in the AFC East with Buffalo. New England, meanwhile, went 12-4, won the division and advanced to the AFC title game.
"I felt like it was a learning opportunity for me. There was a lot that I'll take from it," Tebow said at the end of the season. "There's a lot that I learned, and there are lot of relationships that I've built, so I know that it happened for a reason."
Now, he joins rivals who swept the Jets last season, including an embarrassing 49-19 loss that New York endured at home on Thanksgiving night.
"It's not a surprise to me that Tim would be picked up. Obviously, as I've said before, he's a tremendous young man and very competitive. I look forward to competing against him," said Ryan, who is getting used to seeing his former players and staff members catch on elsewhere.