Tebow thanks Pats for opportunity, runs third-team offense

Not sure if you heard yet or not, but the Patriots signed Tim Tebow. No, really, they did. And despite Bill Belichick downplaying Tebow's presence on the roster as much as possible, he still attracted a gaggle of gawking reporters for his practice session at Pats minicamp Tuesday.

But Tebow wasn't interested in answering questions and simply issued a statement (of sorts) thanking the Pats for the opportunity.

"First and foremost, I just want to thank the Patriots for giving me an opportunity. I'm very thankful," Tebow said, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. "It's such an honor to be a Patriot and play for coach (Bill) Belichick and coach (Josh) McDaniels and learn under Tom (Brady) and be part of this great franchise and a part of a very successful franchise. I found that out first-hand, lost to them several times, so it's going to be a lot of fun.

"I'm looking forward to working hard every single day and getting a lot better and learning under some great people. That's all I got. Thank you all so much and God bless. I'm sure we'll be talking more soon."

Good on Tebow for not taking a ton of questions; it's the polar opposite of his time with the Jets, when he spent far too much time talking to the media. It's clearly part of a plan the Patriots have for Tebow, one designed to minimize media coverage.

But how about actual football? Needless to say Tebow's not going to challenge Tom Brady for the top quarterback spot anytime soon. And he's not likely to even bother Ryan Mallett for the backup position.

In fact, Tebow was, as Volin wrote, "mostly a bystander" during his first day as a Patriot.

"[W]hen the Patriots broke into 11-on-11 drills, Tebow was strictly an observer for 95 percent of practice as Brady and Mallett took all of the repetitions," Volin wrote from practice. "Tebow mostly stood next to McDaniels, the team's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, and occasionally next to his old college teammate, Aaron Hernandez, who is rehabbing a shoulder injury."

He eventually got in as the third-string quarterback and went 4 of 7 on passing plays, occasionally holding onto the ball too long (shocker!) but also being victim to some drops.

Tebow not getting many practice reps should be the least surprising news of the day; the Patriots want to make sure he can be competent -- and they'll give him the reps needed to accomplish that -- but in an ideal world, New England can keep choking off the media interest in Tebow's on- and off-field performance.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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