Tim Tebow may still have a future in the NFL after all.
The New England Patriots seem to think so and plan to sign him today if he passes a physical.
He won’t be a starting quarterback, of course, with Tom Brady on hand in Foxborough. But certainly he’s an intriguing reclamation project — yet another chance for coach Bill Belichick to torture the New York Jets, who failed to find a role for Tebow last season.
And that could make for quite a Boston Tea-bow Party.
A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Monday that Tebow will join the Patriots’ minicamp today and sign with the team, pending the medical exam. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no official announcement had been made. Even when Tebow signs, there is no guarantee he will play for the Patriots.
ESPN first reported that Tebow would sign with New England.
Former Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist sees the logic in the move.
“If you can find a club that’s mature enough to handle it as an organization, then you’re going to find the right spot for him,” Sundquist said. “What I mean by that is all the media mania and that sort of thing. The club says, ‘Look, this is the reason we’re bringing him on. We feel he can bring X, Y, Z and A, B, C to the table.’ Explain it to Tim, explain it to the media, explain it to your fan base and explain it to your organization.”
That description seems to fit New England perfectly.
One of the NFL’s most polarizing players, Tebow spent a lost season in 2012 with the New York Jets, playing sparingly behind struggling starter Mark Sanchez. Some fans thought he got a raw deal and deserved more of a chance; others thought he lacked the skills to be a pro quarterback. He was released in April with barely a shrug — hardly the ending most Jets fans envisioned considering his super-hyped welcome to the Big Apple.
Tebow won two national titles at Florida and was a first-round draft pick in 2010 by Denver. As a rookie, Tebow threw just 82 passes in nine games, starting three. But in 2011, he started 11 games, throwing for 12 touchdowns and six interceptions, and took the Broncos to a wild-card win over Pittsburgh before an AFC divisional playoff loss to New England, 45-10.
Despite the Broncos’ playoff run, he was traded to New York the following offseason when Denver signed Peyton Manning. Tebow threw only eight passes for the Jets, completing six, ran 32 times for 102 yards and was used mostly to protect the punter.
“Unfortunately,” coach Rex Ryan said in a statement when Tebow was released, “things did not work out the way we all had hoped.”
The Patriots have Ryan Mallett as the backup to Brady; they released QB Mike Kafka on Monday.
Asked if Tebow had signed, Patriots spokesman Stacey James said, “I do not anticipate any additional transactions to announce tonight.”
Tebow’s NFL career appeared over when the Jets couldn’t trade him at draft time and wound up cutting the left-handed quarterback, who won the 2007 Heisman Trophy. But now he is headed to New England, where the man who drafted him as coach of the Broncos, Josh McDaniels, is an offensive assistant under Belichick.
And apart from winning Super Bowls, Belichick likes nothing better than sticking it to the Jets. He’s had a running feud with Ryan for nearly four seasons, in part because Ryan once said he wasn’t hired to kiss Belichick’s rings.
Belichick was Jets coach for one day in 2000, infamously resigning with a hand-written note. He soon joined New England, and has been regularly beating the Jets for more than a decade.
Revitalizing Tebow’s career would be another big step toward humiliating New England’s archrival.
Tebow has been criticized for his throwing motion but has said he wants to play quarterback, not switch positions. Still, the Patriots might need help at tight end after Rob Gronkowski underwent a fourth operation for a broken forearm and faces back surgery. At 6-foot-3 and 236 pounds, Tebow has the size to play that spot.
Belichick values versatility in his players, having used wide receivers Troy Brown, Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater at defensive back when injuries hit that position.
Belichick also has been willing to gamble on players discarded by other teams. Some have succeeded, like 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 in Denver and with the Jets also could be minimized by Belichick, who keeps a tight lid on players’ interactions with reporters.
Tim Tebow may still have a future in the NFL after all.
Pirates’ slide continues in 2-1 loss to Cincinnati
The Pittsburgh Pirates are five games under .500 less than a month into the season but they insist there is no reason to panic.
Ryan Ludwick lined a two-run double after two Cincinnati batters were hit by pitches, lifting Tony Cingrani and the Reds over the Pirates 2-1 on Thursday.
Polar Bear tennis sweeps East: PHOTOS
Last week East Fairmont’s girls’ tennis team beat Fairmont Senior, 4-3.
Wednesday at Fairmont State University, the Polar Bears returned the favor with a 5-2 win over their cross-town rival.
Alissa Link won No. 1 singles, 8-4. Morgan Hoke won No. 3 singles, 9-7. And Avery Towns won No. 4 singles, 8-5, for the Polar Bears.
Falcons set for spring game
Football is back … well, kind of.
Today at 7 p.m., Fairmont State will hold its annual Maroon & White spring game at Duvall-Rosier Field. The scoreboard won’t mean a whole lot since it’s little more than a glorified scrimmage. Instead, here are five things to watch during today’s game.
HERTZEL COLUMN: NCAA football is thriving in the digital age
The other day Baylor football coach Art Briles walked into his graduate assistants’ office and had to laugh at what he saw.
“There’s five guys sitting in there — a couple of GA’s and some office personnel — and they all are within a foot and a half of each other and not a one of them is talking to each other,” Briles said, describing the scene “Every one of them is on the phone.”
Hillberry commits to Wesleyan
Last year Emma Harrison and Kaitlyn Conaway teamed up with Alexis Hillberry to win several relay medals at the state track meet.
Though the two West Virginia Wesleyan runners are now in college, they helped to pass the baton to Hillberry Wednesday when she signed her National Letter of Intent to join her former teammates on the Bobcats’ track team.
O’Brien leads WVU baseball past Marshall
Catcher Cam O’Brien made a bid at becoming only the second West Virginia University player to hit for the cycle as the Mountaineers jumped on Marshall early and routed their in-state rival, 10-3, behind strong pitching from Corey Walter and a pair of relievers.
North, East softball earn blowout wins
The North Marion softball team was at it again Wednesday night.
Mattie Polling tripled and singled, starting pitcher Chelsi Latocha doubled and gave up just one hit as the Huskies rolled to another 3-inning mercy-rule victory over Lewis County, 18-1.
Simon, Bruce lead Reds past Bucs, 5-2
Alfredo Simon pitched into the seventh inning despite erratic control, Jay Bruce drove in a run for a fifth consecutive game and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 Wednesday night.
Simon (3-1) worked 6 2-3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits and five walks while striking out four.
Pens squander lead, fall to Columbus
Brandon Dubinsky scored with 22.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and Nick Foligno’s wrist shot just inside the blue line 2:49 into the extra session gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.
Cousins Sansalone, Craig lead Polar Bears past B-U: PHOTOS
They say you don’t mess with family. Buckhannon-Upshur found that one out the hard way.
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