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But playing for McDaniels didn’t help another of his former players in Denver and then in St. Louis, where McDaniels was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2011. Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd played for McDaniels in both places, was second on the Patriots last season with 74 catches _ and then was released.

“If there’s one guy in the NFL who’s a fan of Tim Tebow or pulling for him, it would be Josh McDaniels,” Woody said.

Belichick 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.

Tebow would need to show great improvement in his throwing mechanics and his ability to read defenses and run the offense.

After winning the Heisman Trophy and two national championships at Florida, Tebow threw just 82 passes in nine games, starting three, as a rookie. In 2011, he started 11 games, throwing for 12 touchdowns and six interceptions and taking the Broncos to a wild-card win over Pittsburgh before an AFC divisional loss to New England, 45-10 in Foxborough. He completed 9 of 26 passes for 136 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions and five sacks in the rout, gaining only 13 yards on five rushes.

He was traded to New York after that season when Denver signed Peyton Manning. Tebow threw just eight passes for the Jets, completing six, ran 32 times for 102 yards and was used mostly to protect the punter.

Former Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist sees the logic in the Patriots‘ decision to bring him to minicamp.

“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’s the way the Patriots operate. Now Tebow must show he can fulfill the expectations they have for him.

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AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner and Sports Writer Dennis Waszak Jr. contributed to this story.