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AP Sources: Tebow signs 2-year deal with Patriots
On his first day with the Patriots, the New England newcomer was just a backup quarterback, No. 5 on his helmet and number three on the depth chart.
And when practice ended Tuesday, Tebow talked _ for all of 40 seconds.
“First and foremost, I just want to thank the Patriots for giving me an opportunity,” Tebow said.
For now, that’s all it is.
No promises of trick plays. No huge media circus. Not even a guaranteed job.
“I don’t know. We’ll see,” Belichick said.
Two people with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press that Tebow was signed for two years but no assured money. One person says he will make the veteran’s minimum salary, $630,000 in 2013, with incentives.
The Patriots already may be making money on their investment. The team’s pro shop was taking pre-orders for jerseys with his last name _ and no number _ on the back. Prices ranged from $69.95 to $99.95, with free shipping.
They all threw good spirals, although Tebow’s velocity and delivery appeared to be the slowest.
“I don’t know,” Belichick said.
About 10 minutes before the workout ended, Patriots owner Robert Kraft walked up to Tebow and shook hands. Kraft put his arm around Tebow’s back and Tebow put his arm on Kraft’s shoulder. They chatted for a few minutes as Tebow threw.
“It’s such an honor to be a Patriot and play for coach Belichick and coach McDaniels, learn under Tom and to be a part of this great franchise and part of a very successful franchise,” Tebow said. “I found that out firsthand. I lost to them several times.”
Tebow then strolled off without taking questions.
Quite a contrast to Tebow’s introductory press session with the New York Jets last year. He spoke for 30 minutes at that gathering, moved from the normal media room to the team’s field house because the turnout was so large.
With a rack of Super Bowl trophies in their possession, the Patriots want wins, not headlines.
Tebow joined the perennial playoff team for the first practice of its three-day minicamp. It’s uncertain whether the left-hander QB will last until training camp in late July or the first exhibition game on Aug. 9 at Philadelphia. And the season opener in Buffalo on Sept. 8 is still nearly three months away.
By that time, he might even have another position _ H-back, tight end or punt protector.
But at least he has an NFL job after signing with the Patriots on Tuesday. That prospect seemed to be a long shot when no team hurried to sign him after the Jets cut him on April 29, three days after they drafted quarterback Geno Smith out of West Virginia.
Might he be used on special teams on defense?
“We’ll see. I don’t know.”
What about people who have questioned his ability to play quarterback in the NFL?
“I’ve already said that,” Belichick he said. “I’ve answered the question twice. He’s a talented player who is smart and works hard.”
“Oh, please, he’s not going to listen to me, and he shouldn’t,” Rex Ryan said. “He’ll just do what he does, and that makes sense.”
“It’s good to see a Gator in the building,” Spikes said. “I was happy for him. He got to get his job back and … come out here and compete, so that’s good to see him smile, that big smile I’m used to seeing the last few years down in Florida.”
“I was a little shocked and I was happy because we had a long relationship in college and it’s good to play with a college teammate again,” Hernandez said. “Great teammate. Great leader.”
On the Patriots, he’s merely a player looking to compete for a roster spot.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Tebow said. “I’m looking forward to working hard every single day and getting a lot better and learning under some great people. So that’s all I got, but thank you all so much and God bless. I’m sure we’ll be talking more soon.”
AP sports writers Larry Lage in Detroit, Dennis Waszak Jr. in Florham Park, N.J., and Barry Wilner in New York contributed to this report.
By Donald Lambro
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