Patriots unsure what they will do with Tebow
QB has first practice with new team, but has left everyone guessing as to where he will stand
Tim Tebow and Tom Brady took turns, zipping passes over the middle and lofting tosses toward the corner of the end zone.
On his first day with the Patriots, the New England newcomer was just a backup quarterback, No. 5 on his helmet and number three on the depth chart.
And when practice ended, Tebow talked – for all of 40 seconds. “First and foremost, I just want to thank the Patriots for giving me an opportunity,” Tebow said.
For now, that’s all it is. No promises of trick plays. No huge media circus. Not even a guaranteed job.
To coach Bill Belichick, the focus is on football. And where Tebow fits in, well, the Patriots plan to find out. “I don’t know. We’ll see,” Belichick said.
Two people with knowledge of the deal said that Tebow was signed for two years but no assured money. One person says he will make the veteran’s minimum salary, US$630,000, with incentives.
During practice, the three QBs worked under the close scrutiny of offensive co-ordinator Josh McDaniels, the head coach with the Denver Broncos in 2011when Tebow enjoyed his greatest pro success.
Asked how much McDaniels’ background with Tebow contributed to the deal, Belichick shed no light: “I don’t know,” he said.
“It’s such an honour to be a Patriot and play for coach Belichick and coach McDaniels, learn under Tom and to be a part of this great franchise and part of a very successful franchise,” Tebow said. “I found that out firsthand. I lost to them several times.”
Tebow then strolled off without taking questions. Quite a contrast to his introductory press session with the New York Jets last year. He spoke for 30 minutes at that gathering, moved to the team’s field house because the turnout was so large.
At 25, Tebow owns a Heisman Trophy, two college national championship rings and one NFL play-off victory. With a rack of Super Bowl trophies in their possession, the Patriots want wins, not headlines.
It’s uncertain whether he will last until full training camp in late July or the first exhibition game in August. And the season opener is still nearly three months away.
Belichick, as usual, was brief in his hopes for Tebow. “We’ll try to do what we think is best for our football team,” he said. Might he be used on special teams on defence? “We’ll see. I don’t know.”
What about people who have questioned his ability to play quarterback in the NFL? “I’ve answered the question twice. He’s a talented player who is smart and works hard.”
Brady is still one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, so there will be no controversy as there was in New York, where fans clamored for Tebow to replace a struggling Mark Sanchez.
On the Patriots, he’s merely a player looking to compete for a roster spot. “It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Tebow said. “I’m looking forward to working hard every single day and getting a lot better and learning under some great people. So that’s all I got, but thank you all so much and God bless. I’m sure we’ll be talking more soon.