Tebow 'thankful' as Belichick says 'We'll see how it goes'
FOXBORO, Mass. -- It was Tebowmania, Patriots style.
Not quite 15 months after the Jets introduced Tim Tebow during a formal, 33-minute news conference in the team's field house, he spoke for 33 seconds here Tuesday on a practice field outside Gillette Stadium.
No questions, please.
This after coach Bill Belichick spoke far longer and said even less as reporters sought insight into why the Patriots signed Tebow to a two-year contract -- with no guaranteed money, according to ESPN -- and what they might do with him.
The only hint came during a minicamp practice in which he wore a red quarterback jersey and did not appear to fill any other roles. (He will wear No. 5 for now; fellow backup quarterback Ryan Mallett has No. 15.)
Tebow threw mostly spirals and was noticeably slimmer than last year; he is listed as 6-3, 236 pounds. He did not appear to take any snaps in full team drills, understandable given he had officially come on board only hours earlier.
"First and foremost I just want to thank the Patriots for giving me an opportunity," he said as reporters and camera crews jostled for position. (Before he began he said, "Relax; it's all good. I'll speak loud enough for everyone to hear.")
"I'm very thankful. It's such an honor to be a Patriot and play for Coach Belichick and Coach [Josh] McDaniels and learn under Tom [Brady] and be a part of this great franchise and a part of a very successful franchise. I found that out firsthand. I have 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've got, but thank y'all so much and God bless. I'm sure we'll be talking more soon."
Actually, no. Tebow does not figure to speak publicly again until training camp at the earliest, and is highly unlikely to be made available to reporters on a regular basis as he was with the Jets.
Belichick would not explain the decision to add Tebow beyond saying, "Anything we do is what we feel is in the best interests of the team. Tim is a talented player that is smart and works hard. We'll see how it goes."
Belichick said he is unconcerned about the circuslike atmosphere that Tebow brings with him, saying to a crowd that included 14 television cameras, "In all honesty, we've been in front of bigger crowds than this before. We will just keep doing what our job is."
When pressed specifically on Tebow's ability to play quarterback in the NFL, Belichick said, "I've answered the question twice," even though he hadn't. Then he added, "He's a talented player who is smart and works hard."
What role did offensive coordinator McDaniels -- Tebow's head coach with the Broncos -- play in the signing? Said Belichick: "I don't know."
With little to go on from Belichick or Tebow and Brady not set to speak until later in camp, reporters sought other opinions, such as Tebow's former Florida teammates, tight end Aaron Hernandez and linebacker Brandon Spikes.
"It's good to be back out there with him," Hernandez said. "There's a reason why he's here and I actually don't know the reason yet, but we'll see."