Circus? Tim Tebow means versatility for Patriots

Bill Belichick spent a lot of time evaluating Tim Tebow as a complete football specimen leading up to the draft. He is close with Urban Meyer, Tebow's college coach and a Belichick disciple. And Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels spent a first-round pick on Tebow as head coach in Denver.

If Tebow was going to find an NFL landing spot, many NFL experts thought New England, and possibly Green Bay, would be most likely. But even then, not as a primary backup quarterback. Don't look for Tebow to get heavy reps at quarterback or to unseat Ryan Mallett as the No. 2 on the depth chart. And the Patriots won't be running Tom Brady off the field much to get Tebow under center.

But they can use Tebow in an occasional role as a read-option quarterback. They can put him in the Danny Woodhead role in their backfield, and especially with Rob Gronkowski undergoing a host of offseason surgeries, they certainly will work out Tebow in a tight end role, according to league sources.

Belichick was constantly signing tight ends last season even when New England seemed increasingly deep at that position, and the Patriots coach has long thought Tebow could be a versatile athlete to contribute to a winning program in various ways. He's loved the kid's attitude and work ethic and has no lack of information on him going back to the day he arrived on Florida's campus.

Tebow doesn't have to throw passes to find a role on a team where Mike Vrabel used to catch touchdown passes. Adding quirky wrinkles is in the Patriots DNA.

Tebow had to come to grips with the fact that opportunities to compete for a quarterback job really weren't going to materialize, and he already has a history with McDaniels, the Pats' offensive coordinator.

So, it's no surprise it took Tebow a good chunk of the offseason to find work, and no more surprising that Belichick is the coach to take a chance on him. Rubbing it in the Jets' faces, after their disaster with Tebow last year, is just one more incentive to find a spot on his 53-man roster for Tebow, and the commanding presence of Brady and Belichick can handle the locker room and the media.

It won't be the circus it was in New York. There won't even be a quarterback controversy for the backup job, and Tebow, being given a diverse role that rarely, if ever, involves throwing a football, will contribute to another division title in New England.

CBS Sports Insider

Before joining CBS Sports, Jason La Canfora was the Washington Redskins beat writer for The Washington Post for six years and served as NFL Network's insider. The Baltimore native can be seen every Sunday... Full Bio

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