Tim Tebow has arisen.
There is no other way to phrase it, really, when explaining Tebow’s return to the NFL.
Not only is he back, but he’s been anointed by Bill Belichick to join the beast of the East, the New England Patriots. After being released by the dysfunctional New York Jets, Tebow has new life with the Super Bowl-contending Pats. He signed a two-year deal and attended the first day of minicamp on Tuesday.
The turn of events is so Tebowistic: The quarterback who has thrown a total of 361 passes for 2,422 yards in his three years mostly as a backup or backup’s backup lands himself a job under curmudgeon genius Belichick.
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No one expects Tebow to sub for Tom Brady, or to supplant Ryan Mallett. Small chance that he will play quarterback at all since he has yet to convince pro coaches he can play the position at the NFL level.
Tebow faithful, Gator Nation, you’ve got to admit that watching Tebow in the pocket and throwing the ball is a bit like watching salmon swim upstream. Admirable, but brutal.
Yet Tebow is the supreme gamer, as he showed throughout his college career at Florida, where he won two national titles and the 2007 Heisman Trophy. Put in the right situation, he makes things happen, as he did in Denver’s 7-4 run to the 2011 AFC West title and overtime upset of Pittsburgh in the playoffs. He has a distinctive combination of assets.
Who better than Belichick, who saw something in Brady when he drafted him with the 199th pick in 2000, to make Tebow’s potential fruitful? Belichick is also a close friend of Urban Meyer, who certainly vouched for Tebow’s promise.
If Belichick envisions Tebow at tight end, H-back or fullback, he wasn’t saying Tuesday. Tebow has rushed for 989 yards and 12 touchdowns on 197 attempts in the NFL.
“We’re going to do what’s best for the football team,” Belichick said. “He’s a talented guy who’s smart and works hard. He can do a lot of things. We’ll see.”
Belichick would not address a specific question about Tebow’s ability at quarterback.
Tebow landed in the best place he could have hoped for after a wasted year in New York, where he threw for 39 yards.
He is reunited with New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, former coach of the Broncos who drafted Tebow 25th in 2010. Belichick has revived careers in New England and he’s willing to innovate.
Remember former Heisman quarterback Doug Flutie’s drop kick for the Pats?
Teams with quarterback weaknesses, including Tebow’s hometown Jacksonville Jaguars, weren’t interested in the lefty.
“I’m looking forward to working hard every single day and getting a lot better and learning under some great people,” Tebow said Tuesday to a media swarm as Tebowmania swept through Foxborough.
“So that’s all I got. Thank you so much and God bless.”
Belichick won’t court the circus the way Rex Ryan did. He’ll kick the tent poles down, in fact. Belichick may serve Tebow with a gag order, so as to minimize polarizing comments on faith and Christianity.
Behind the Belichick wall, studying under a mentor like Brady, instead of practicing with an insecure target of doubt like Mark Sanchez, Tebow will have a chance to methodically develop his mechanics, footwork and ability to read defenses. In Denver, Tebow led a run-option attack after the dumping of Kyle Orton. The love he inspired in Broncos’ fans was quickly set aside when Peyton Manning arrived.
It is Tebow’s very last chance at quarterback. He’s 25, and he hasn’t made the crossover from dynamic college star to serviceable NFL player yet. If he can’t adapt his passing game to the NFL, Belichick will confirm that soon enough, and Tebow will have to accept it.
Tebow likely has a better shot as a role player. Might we see a jump pass? A trick play? A clutch catch over the middle? Or one of those miracle Tebow runs where he parts defenses like, well, you know.
He’s back. Just the prospect of Tim Tebowing in the end zone again makes the 2013 season more interesting.