Could Tim Tebow wind up with the Patriots?

Posted by Steve Silva, Staff  March 19, 2012 11:55 AM

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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow meet at midfield after an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011, in Denver. New England won 41-23.
Will there be Tebowing across New England?

According to a radio report by ESPN's John Clayton over the weekend, if the Denver Broncos close the deal with quarterback Peyton Manning, the rumor circulating is that the Broncos may then trade quarterback Tim Tebow to the Patriots.

"Here's an interesting proposition, just a rumor. Let's say you have Manning going to Denver," Clayton said on ESPN Radio over the weekend according to "Tim Tebow is probably going to be traded. He's not going to Jacksonville, they've already got Chad Henne. New England. You trade him to New England and groom him to be kind of a role player, and then you trade Ryan Mallett in some way. It's just a rumor."

Denver Post columnist Woodie Paige, who once called Tebow the long-awaited successor to John Elway, wrote today that Tebow "likes" the Patriots.

When he was the head coach of the Broncos, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels selected Tebow with pick No. 25 in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft. McDaniels never started Tebow but used him in the Broncos goal-line package before he was fired in December 2010 after less than two years on the job as Denver's head coach.

"Coach McDaniels is a great coach and he'll do a good job," Tebow said in January after McDaniels rejoined the Patriots.

Tebow met with the Patriots prior to the 2010 draft, dining with head coach Bill Belichick in Boston's North End. Belichick, who is also friends with Urban Meyer, Tebow's coach at Florida, spoke last season about what he remembered from the visit.

"We brought Tim in and spent a whole day with him here, in addition to our other interactions with him," Belichick said in December. "He's an impressive young man. He had great success in college, I think all his attributes are pretty well documented. He"s a strong guy, smart, works hard, a great leader, great football character."

One question leading up to the draft was if a team would be willing to give Tebow a shot at playing quarterback, or if he's be better suited at a different position. Nick Caserio, the Patriot' director of player personnel, said last season that the team evaluated Tebow for only one position.

"I don't really think there was any other position he played," Caserio said. "He was a quarterback, and that's what we evaluated him as."

Broncos executive VP of football operations and quarterback legend John Elway never sounded all that convinced Tebow was the right answer at the sport's most important position and now could trade him, even though the popular QB energized the Broncos in leading them to the playoffs last season despite some erratic play.

Tebow is apparently out as Denver's QB only months after the former Heisman Trophy winner was the focus of the NFL regular season and perhaps the most talked-about athlete in sports, a polarizing figure both because of his style of play -- as far as possible from a classic, dropback passer -- and his outspoken religious beliefs.

After taking over a struggling team, Tebow led the Broncos to comeback victory after comeback victory, struggling for three quarters before starring in the fourth quarter and overtime. With an offense transformed into a spread option attack built on Tebow's running, and a strong defense that kept games close, the Broncos won the AFC West title.

Tebowmania reached its apex in the playoffs, when he threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas on the very first play of overtime to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The next week, though, Tebow was smothered by the Patriots, who easily eliminated the Broncos 45-10. In the playoff showdown at Gilette Stadium, it was Patriots quarterback Tom Brady who silenced Tebowmania by throwing six touchdown passes to lead the Patriots into the AFC championship game. Tebow finished the game 9 -or-26 passing for 136 yards passing.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper chimed in, saying he hoped Tebow wasn't going anywhere.

"He's a young man, right? And a year or two of working under John Elway and Peyton Manning, you know, I'm not sure any other quarterbacks around the country get that opportunity," Hickenlooper said.

Material from The Boston Globe and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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