QB Tim Tebow signs with New England Patriots; people familiar with deal say it is for 2 years

  • Article by: HOWARD ULMAN , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: June 12, 2013 - 2:15 AM

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tim Tebow and Tom Brady took turns, zipping passes over the middle and lofting tosses toward the corner of the end zone.

On his first day with the Patriots, the New England newcomer was just a backup quarterback, No. 5 on his helmet and number three on the depth chart.

And when practice ended Tuesday, Tebow talked — for all of 40 seconds.

"First and foremost, I just want to thank the Patriots for giving me an opportunity," Tebow said.

For now, that's all it is.

No promises of trick plays. No huge media circus. Not even a guaranteed job.

To coach Bill Belichick, the focus is on football. And where Tebow fits in, well, the Patriots plan to find out.

"I don't know. We'll see," Belichick said.

Two people with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press that Tebow was signed for two years but no assured money. One person says he will make the veteran's minimum salary, $630,000 in 2013, with incentives.

The Patriots already may be making money on their investment. The team's pro shop was taking pre-orders for jerseys with his last name — and no number — on the back. Prices ranged from $69.95 to $99.95, with free shipping.

Tebow prefers the number 15, but second-string quarterback Ryan Mallett already has it.

During practice, the three QBs worked under the close scrutiny of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who drafted Tebow in 2010 when he was the head coach of the Denver Broncos.

They all threw good spirals, although Tebow's velocity and delivery appeared to be the slowest.

Asked how much McDaniels' background with Tebow contributed to the signing, Belichick shed no light.

"I don't know," Belichick said.

About 10 minutes before the workout ended, Patriots owner Robert Kraft walked up to Tebow and shook hands. Kraft put his arm around Tebow's back and Tebow put his arm on Kraft's shoulder. They chatted for a few minutes as Tebow threw.

"It's such an honor to be a Patriot and play for coach Belichick and coach McDaniels, learn under Tom and to be a part of this great franchise and part of a very successful franchise," Tebow said. "I found that out firsthand. I lost to them several times."

Tebow then strolled off without taking questions.

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