Tebow on joining Pats: Will 'be a lot of fun'
Tim Tebow said Tuesday it was "an honor" to be able to play for Bill Belichick and learn from Tom Brady, saying he expects his time with the New England Patriots "to be a lot of fun."
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Tim Tebow said Tuesday it was "an honor" to be able to play for Bill Belichick and learn from Tom Brady, saying he expects his time with the New England Patriots "to be a lot of fun."
Terms of Tebow's contract, which was officially signed Tuesday, were not disclosed, but league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that Tebow signed a two-year deal that includes no guaranteed money.
As he was walking off the practice field, where he wore a red (non-contact) jersey and worked with the team's quarterbacks, Tebow made a short statement to the dozens of reporters waiting for him but did not take any questions.
"First and foremost, I just want to thank the Patriots for giving me an opportunity," he said. "I'm very thankful. It's such an honor to be a Patriot and play for coach [Bill] Belichick and coach [Josh] McDaniels, and learn under Tom [Brady] and be a part of this great franchise and very successful franchise. I found out first hand; lost to them several times.
"It's going to be a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to working hard every single day and getting a lot better and learning under some great people. That's all I got. Thank you all so much and God bless. I'm sure we'll be talking more soon."
Belichick kept his remarks on Tebow brief earlier Tuesday, calling the newly-signed quarterback, who will wear No. 5, "a talented player that is smart and works hard."
Belichick was non-committal on what position Tebow would play -- sources tell ESPN he'll be at quarterback -- and smiled at one point during his news conference at mandatory minicamp when asked if he was concerned about the media crush that surrounds Tebow.
"Hopefully there will be more than at the games on Sunday," Belichick cracked, after saying the media attention had no impact on his decision to sign Tebow.
But the Tebow topic was one that Belichick -- who didn't mention Tebow in his opening remarks -- was clearly not interested in elaborating on, as he repeated simple answers such as "we'll see" multiple times.
By the 14th straight Tebow question, Belichick said: "I think I've covered it. Anything else?"
A teammate of Tebow's for three seasons at the University of Florida, Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez said Tuesday he was surprised to be reunited with his college quarterback in the NFL.
"Once I heard the information I was a little shocked and I was happy," Hernandez said. "Definitely was a surprise for probably most of us."
Tebow participated in Tuesday's practice solely as a quarterback, but Hernandez said he was unsure of Tebow's role going forward.
"There's a reason why he's here. I actually don't now the reason yet but we'll see," Hernandez said. "I'm sure he'll be doing a few things here. That's up to Bill Belichick."
Former NFL quarterback Chris Weinke, who has been working with Tebow over the past month to tweak his throwing mechanics, told USA Today Sports that he believes Tebow can play quarterback in the NFL.
"Like I told Tim when I found out [Monday] that he signed, 'You're locked and loaded, ready to go,'" he told the newspaper.
The move reunites Tebow with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who was the Broncos' head coach when Denver traded into the first round to draft the Heisman Trophy winner in 2010.
Belichick often has spoken with admiration of Tebow's versatility, intelligence and character. Belichick covets what he has described as tough, smart, versatile football players.
Last month, Yahoo! Sports cited an "organizational source" as saying Belichick disliked Tebow as a player and there was "no chance" of him landing in New England. Belichick dismissed that notion last week, telling ESPNBoston.com that the report was completely untrue.
When asked about his relationship with Tebow, Belichick said, "Yeah, I like Tim. I have a lot of respect for Tim."
Ironically, Tebow's last NFL start came in Denver's blowout playoff loss in Foxborough to Brady and the Patriots following the 2011 season.
Kafka was claimed on waivers by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Tuesday, his agent told ESPN.
"It's not a surprise to me that Tim would be picked up, obviously as I've said before, tremendous young man, very competitive and I look forward to competing against him," Jets coach Rex Ryan said Tuesday.
Asked if he was curious how Belichick planned to use Tebow, Ryan said, "Not really. Nope. If they want to replace Brady with him, that's fine."
The Jets traded a pair of draft picks to Denver in the March 2012 deal to acquire Tebow but failed to establish a consistent role in the offense for the versatile quarterback, who attempted just eight passes, rushed for 102 yards on 32 carries and was used mostly to protect the punter.
Tebow helped the Broncos win the AFC West in 2011 and beat Pittsburgh in a wild-card playoff game before being traded to New York when Denver signed Peyton Manning.
Tebow's NFL career appeared over this offseason when the Jets couldn't trade him at draft time and wound up cutting the left-handed quarterback, who won the 2007 Heisman Trophy at Florida. There even was speculation he couldn't get an offer from any Canadian Football League teams.
Tebow has been criticized for his throwing motion but has said he wants to play quarterback, not switch positions. Still, the Patriots could need help at tight end after Rob Gronkowski underwent a fourth operation for a broken forearm and faces back surgery.
Belichick also has been willing to gamble on players discarded by other teams. Some have succeeded, such as wide receivers Wes Welker and Randy Moss and running back Danny Woodhead. Some haven't, including wide receiver Chad Johnson and defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth.
The media circus that surrounded Tebow at Florida, Denver and with the Jets could be minimized by Belichick, who keeps a tight lid on players' interactions with reporters.
ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss and Mike Rodak, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and ESPNNewYork.com's Jane McManus contributed to this report. Information from The Associated Press also was used.
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