It didn’t take Bill Belichick long — roughly five minutes — to run out of patience with Tebowmania yesterday. The famously sourpuss Patriots boss did his best to put a lid right away on the runaway hype machine known as Tim Tebow, jousting testily with reporters before banning the polarizing ex-Jet quarterback from taking questions after Tebow’s first practice since his surprising signing by New England. “I think we’ve already talked enough about him,” Belichick said after the first 14 questions of his minicamp opening press conference were about Tebow. “I think I’ve covered it.” Actually, Belichick had done nothing of the sort by giving vague, detail-free responses to every query from a huge throng estimated by Patriots officials at 80 media members — or about four times as much as the Patriots would draw to an average June workout in shorts. But this was no ordinary offseason practice, all because Belichick just 24 hours earlier had blindsided the NFL world by signing Tebow six weeks after his release by the Jets. Financially, the move couldn’t have been more low-risk: Tebow agreed to a two-year deal for the $1.36 million minimum with no guarantees or bonuses, which means the Patriots could cut him at any time before the start of the regular season at no cost. Tebow was assigned jersey No. 5 (his favored No. 15 is already taken by fellow Tom Brady backup Ryan Mallett), and he worked strictly at quarterback running the third-team offense during a nearly two-hour practice outside Gillette Stadium. But if the Patriots’ plan for controlling the Tebow hype wasn’t clear during Belichick’s grumpy press conference, it was 20/20 after the practice as Tebow was barred by the team from taking questions from a throng of waiting reporters and photographers. Tebow instead recited a statement from memory, with the words he used extremely familiar to anyone who listened to him during his recent year in exile with Gang Green. “First and foremost, I just want to thank the Patriots for giving me an opportunity,” Tebow said. “I’m very thankful. It’s such an honor to be a Patriot and play for Coach Belichick and coach [Josh] McDaniels, and learn under Tom [Brady] and be a part of this great franchise and very successful franchise. I found out first hand; I’ve lost to them several times.
Belichick & Co. engulfed by the arrival of Tebowmania
New York Post | Jun 12