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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.

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AP Sports Writers Dennis Waszak Jr., and Howard Ulman contributed to this story.