Just over a week ago we were talking about the end of Tim Tebow's NFL career. Reports had surfaced that Tebow's own people were beginning to doubt that he'd ever get another contract. A story in "ESPN, The Magazine," revealed the possibility that Tebow has a form of dyslexia that makes it difficult for him to learn the playbook. Renowed quarterbacks guru Steve Clarkson told me all Tebow needs is an opportunity in a better situation than he had with the Jets last season. Apparently that opportunity has come with the Patriots. Clarkson worked with Tebow on his throwing mechanics and talked with me on "Studio 11 LA" about Tebow's surprise signing.
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The New England Patriots are expected to sign quarterback Tim Tebow and have him in minicamp by Tuesday, according to ESPN. Tebow spent last season with the New York Jets, but only saw limited action. He finished the season with just eight passing attempts for 39 yards and zero touchdowns, and the Jets cut him on April 29.
As weeks went by with Tebow still unemployed, it seemed possible he may never play in the NFL again. Yahoo! Sports reported in May that New England head coach Bill Belichick did not like Tebow and that he said there was "no chance" of Tebow coming to the Patriots. Belichick later refuted that report, and told ESPNBoston.com that he wouldn't rule out the team signing Tebow. "I wouldn't get into the probability of us pursuing any free agent," Belichick said. "Every single player has strengths and weaknesses but regardless of that, for anyone to have represented that is the way I feel about Tim Tebow is completely untrue, baseless and irresponsible. It is unfortunate that something so inaccurate was reported."
The Patriots' signing of Tebow will reunite him with Josh McDaniels, New England's offensive coordinator and former head coach of Tebow with the Denver Broncos.
McDaniels and the Broncos drafted Tebow in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft, and made him the full-time starter in 2011. Tebow led the Broncos to the playoffs and a first-round upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers after an 80-yard game-winning touchdown pass in overtime.
The Patriots will have Tebow study with the team's tight ends, according to CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman. "Tebow won't exclusively study TE. But he's also not just going to study QB," Freeman tweeted. The Patriots have a history of using versatile players at multiple positions. Mike Vrabel was used as both a linebacker and tight end, while Troy Brown saw time as a wide receiver and defensive back. Belichick also has shown a willingness to bring in players who had been off-field distractions in the past. Among the players he acquired that few other teams were willing to: Randy Moss, Chad Johnson (known as Chad Ochocinco at the time), Corey Dillon, Aqib Talib, Albert Haynesworth and Bryan Cox.
The Patriots have not officially announced the signing of Tebow, but did announce that they cut backup quarterback Mike Kafka. New England's quarterback depth chart also includes Ryan Mallett, who attempted just four passes last season. Asked if Tebow had signed, Patriots spokesman Stacey James said, ''I do not anticipate any additional transactions to announce tonight.''
The Associated Press contributed to this report.