“I’m happy for the young man to get another opportunity in the league and things like that. We’ve already mentioned that it didn’t work out here,” New York coach Rex Ryan said. “Obviously, Tim had more success in Denver than he did here.”
After the NFL draft, in which they selected quarterback Geno Smith from West Virginia, the Jets decided to release Tebow just more than a year after a dressed-up, high-profile press conference that welcomed him to the organization.
New York went 6-10 last season, lost its final three games and finished tied for last place in the AFC East with Buffalo. New England, meanwhile, went 12-4, won the division and advanced to the AFC title game.
“I felt like it was a learning opportunity for me. There was a lot that I’ll take from it,” Tebow said at the end of the season. “There’s a lot that I learned, and there are lot of relationships that I’ve built, so I know that it happened for a reason.”
Now, he joins a rival who swept the Jets last season, including an embarrassing 49-19 loss that New York endured at home on Thanksgiving night.
“It’s not a surprise to me that Tim would be picked up. Obviously, as I’ve said before, he’s a tremendous young man and very competitive. I look forward to competing against him,” said Ryan, who is getting used to seeing his former players and staff members catch on elsewhere.
“If you look throughout our league now, you’ve got Tim with New England, (tight end) Dustin Keller in Miami and (defensive coordinator) Mike Pettine and Co. in Buffalo, so there’s a lot of my former guys throughout the league,” Ryan added. “(Running back) Shonn Greene in Tennessee, who we’re going to go up against (too). With that, I’ve always wished those guys the best.
“Unless they play against us, obviously.”
The last time Tebow threw a pass in Foxborough, Denver lost in the divisional playoff round to the Patriots 45-10 in the 2011 season. He completed 9 of 26 passes for 136 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions and five sacks in that game and gained 13 yards on five rushes.
When he was traded to the Jets with great fanfare in March 2012, there was speculation he might replace Mark Sanchez as the starting quarterback. But when Sanchez struggled, he was replaced by Greg McElroy late in the season. Tebow threw only eight passes all year and played primarily as the protector for the Jets’ punter.
Tebow’s presence on the team and absence from the field fed a media frenzy in New York.
The spotlight will be dimmer in Foxborough where Belichick tightly controls which players can talk to the media and what they can say. When they go beyond those limits, Belichick sometimes forbids them from talking with reporters.
But does Belichick need any advice from Ryan on how to handle Tebow?
“Oh, please, he’s not going to listen to me, and he shouldn’t,” Ryan said. “He’ll just do what he does, and that makes sense.”
Former Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist sees the logic in the Patriots’ decision to bring Tebow to minicamp.