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Patriots planning to keep Tim Tebow at quarterback not tight end?

Tim Tebow PatriotsWhen the New England Patriots signed Tim Tebow, there was instant speculation that they would move the versatile player to another position such as tight end or fullback. But that might not be what the team has planned.

Per Rotoworld, ESPN Boston reporter Mike Reiss said on “SportsCenter” Friday that it would be a “surprise” if the Patriots converted Tebow to tight end. Reiss also reportedly said the Patriots have “made it pretty clear” that Tebow is there to compete for the third-string quarterback position.

Between Rob Gronkowski’s multiple surgeries and the murder investigation of Aaron Hernandez, people believed the Patriots were growing thin at tight end and that they would be even more motivated to convert Tebow. However, the Pats already have several experienced tight ends such as Jake Ballard, Daniel Fells, and Michael Hoomanawanui on the roster.

Though many of us do not think Tebow has the skills to make it in the NFL as a quarterback, it is important to keep in mind that Josh McDaniels, the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, moved up in the first round to select Tebow as a quarterback in 2010. Clearly he believes Tebow can succeed in the NFL as a quarterback, so it would make sense for the Patriots to make that the top priority when it comes to developing the former Heisman Trophy winner.

Angels wanted to draft Tim Tebow out of high school to play baseball

Tim TebowTim Tebow was an excellent multi-sport athlete in high school, and he was so good that he could have pursed a career in professional baseball had he been interested.

Rob Bradford of WEEI shared a great story last week about scouts who watched Tebow play baseball as a high schooler in Florida. One of the scouts was Tom Kotchman, who is presently a Florida area scout for the Boston Red Sox, and the father of Miami Marlins first baseman Casey Kotchman. Kotchman, then with the Angels, wanted to draft the hulking high schooler.

“We wanted to draft him,” Kotchman remembered, “but he never sent back his information card. Either it never got to him, or … It’s Tim Tebow. Who knows if it got to him, and if it did we just never got it back. Otherwise were were going to take him.”

Tebow was homeschooled but played sports for Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, Fla. As a junior, WEEI says Tebow batted .494 with four home runs while leading his team to the final four of the state playoffs.

Red Sox Florida scout Stephen Hargett provided WEEI with an analysis of Tebow’s abilities.

“He had a strong arm and had a lot of power. If he would have been there his senior year he definitely would have had a good chance to be drafted,” Hargett, who worked with Kotchman with the Angels, told WEEI. “He had leverage to his swing. He had some natural loft. He had some good power. He was a good athlete. He had had enough arm for that position. He was a left-handed hitter with strength and some size.”

Hargett also raved about Tebow’s size. At 6-foot-3 and 236 pounds, Tebow is bigger than many of his football-playing teammates, so you can imagine how much bigger he was than most high school baseball players.

Alas, Tebow was a two-time Florida Player of the Year in football and led the program to the state title in his senior year. He committed to Florida and skipped his senior season of baseball to enroll in Gainesville for the spring semester.

Tebow may not be having the kind of pro career he hoped for, but he did win a Heisman Trophy and become an icon by playing football, so you can say he made the right choice. As for his current baseball abilities, well, three years ago when he took a round of batting practice at a Memphis high school, he reportedly put 12 of 15 pitches out of the park. Maybe he could try returning to baseball if the NFL doesn’t work out. It’s not like minor league teams wouldn’t love to have him in uniform.

H/T Cut Four

Tim Tebow will only have to speak to the media once a week

Tim-Tebow-PatriotsThe NFL has certain rules in place regarding when players and coaches have to speak to the media. Otherwise, people like Bill Belichick would just never do it — ever. Media obligations basically allow the type of buzz that Tim Tebow creates to rage on, unless of course the team designates him as one of its “stars.”

As the NY Post pointed out on Wednesday (via Deadspin), all NFL teams are allowed to label two players as “stars” who are only obligated to speak to the media once a week. New England is the only team in the league who has decided to use that stipulation for a player who is currently competing for a backup quarterback role. The other, naturally, is Tom Brady.

In addition to Belichick doing his best to ignore questions about Tebow and provide the media with no updates on the Patriots’ newest addition, reporters will also have limited access to Tebow. When the Patriots announced the signing of Tebow on Tuesday, he spoked to the media very briefly and fielded no questions. We can fully expect that theme to continue once a week as long as Tebow remains on New England’s roster.

As we said before, it appears Belichick is going to win this battle. Without comments or updates from the coach or player, there is going to be very little to report over the next couple of months.

Tim Tebow getting a New England Patriots trading card

Tim-Tebow-Patriots-playing-card

Tim Tebow may have signed a two-year deal with the New England Patriots that includes no guaranteed money, but very few Tebowmaniacs are rattled by that concept. Tebow is hardly a lock to make the Patriots’ roster at the end of training camp or the preseason, yet that hasn’t seemed to slow apparel and memorabilia sales at all.

As folks continue pre-ordering their No. 5 Tebow jerseys from the Patriots Pro Shop, licensed collectible world leader Panini America has announced that Tebow will be getting his first Patriots trading card this August when the company’s 2013 Rookies and Stars Football collection is released.

“Whenever you have a player with the level of popularity Tim has, and that player moves to a new team, it reinvigorates the collectibility of that player,” Panini America’s vice president of marketing Jason Howarth said. “Fans of that player — and football fans in general — want to acquire the first trading cards of that player in his new uniform. Panini is excited to continue to deliver to Tim Tebow fans the very best football trading cards out there.”

Again, Tebow may not make the team. Bill Belichick is doing a great job so far of stonewalling the media and insisting he’s looking out for what’s best for the team, but don’t be completely fooled. The money the Patriots will make in merchandise sales from Tebow is more than just an added bonus — they’re loving every second of it.

H/T SI Hot Clicks

DeSean Jackson: Tim Tebow ‘not good enough’ to be an NFL quarterback

desean-jacksonThere is still plenty of disagreement among so-called experts about why the New England Patriots signed Tim Tebow. Many insiders insist the Patriots intend to use Tebow as a backup quarterback only, while others feel he could transition to a position like tight end. DeSean Jackson says the latter would be the best choice, because he doesn’t think much of Tebow as a quarterback.

“Forty-six percent (completion percentage)? This is not basketball, that is not good enough,” the Eagles receiver told the NFL Network on Tuesday.” “He has the mentality to come in and be a leader and all that good stuff, but as far as winning the games throughout the whole season, I don’t know. I don’t know if he can be my quarterback.”

Jackson is certainly not the only person who feels that way. At least one NFL legend questions whether or not Tebow would even be able to play quarterback in the CFL. But somehow, Tebow has been able to win at the NFL level.

“He won a playoff game, he beat the (Pittsburgh) Steelers,” Jackson said. “He’s done a pretty good job in the playoffs, that’s what I can say about him. As far as a consistent season, going throughout the whole year — he’s not consistent.”

From the Patriots’ standpoint, Tebow is a hard-working individual who is willing to do whatever it takes to contribute to a winning cause. There is currently a significant shortage of quality starting quarterbacks in the NFL, let alone backups. If Brady goes down, New England could do a lot worse than someone who has won at the NFL level and started playoff games. That is, if Belichick’s plan to stonewall the media remains successful.

Bill Belichick: We’re not going to give minute-by-minute Tim Tebow updates

Tim-Tebow-PatriotsFor the second straight day on Wednesday, Bill Belichick refused to provide any detailed analysis or insight on the Tim Tebow signing. Belichick has made it clear right from the start that he is not going to feed the media with the Tebow information that they crave, which is sure to result in less buzz going forward.

On Tuesday at his introductory minicamp press conference, Belichick used a combination of about 10 words to answer a couple dozen questions about Tebow. The next day brought more of the same.

“I think everybody out there is pretty much in the same boat: just trying to get better day by day,” Belichick told reporters at practice on Wednesday. “Some guys are starting at different points; he’s obviously starting at a point different than where other players were. They’re all moving along. Guys that are out there are making progress. Guys that aren’t are doing what they can do and they’re falling behind.”

Belichick added that it is difficult to evaluate a player after one day — not that he would share his evaluation anyway — before taking a more clear stance regarding Tebow questions.

“Like I said, we’re not going to get into a minute-by-minute evaluation of a player,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the way to go, especially at this time of year.”

Eventually, most of the reporters will stop showing up. Tebowmania is certainly a real thing, but if the team’s coach won’t talk about him and Tebow isn’t allowed to speak to the media news stations and magazines are wasting their time and resources. Andy Hart of Patriots Football Weekly noted on Wednesday that there were a lot less cameras and reporters at Belichick’s press conference already. Make no mistake about it — Belichick will get his way when it comes to stopping the media frenzy.

Rex Ryan: I don’t care how the New England Patriots use Tim Tebow

rex-ryanRex Ryan was asked almost as many questions about Tim Tebow as Bill Belichick was at his press conference on Tuesday, and the New York Jets coach answered more of them. In many ways, both coaches acted exactly like you would expect them to. Belichick was his usual cranky self while Ryan offered more insight and cracked a few jokes.

Ryan’s overall message, however, was clear. When asked if he was curious about how the New England Patriots might use Tebow, Ryan simply told reporters “no.” He then tried to lighten the mood with a wise crack.

“If they want to replace [Tom] Brady with him, that’s fine,” he joked.

The Patriots face the Jets in Week 2, and fans have already been speculating that Belichick will find a way to get Tebow into the end zone just to stick it to his rivals. Considering he signed a contract that will pay him no guaranteed money, Tebow has to worry about making the team first.

“I’m not worried about anything, really,” Ryan continued. “I’m happy for the young man to get another opportunity in the league. It didn’t work out here. Obviously, he had more success in Denver than he did here. It is what it is. … It’s not a surprise to me that Tim would be picked up. I look forward to competing against him.”

Rex was also asked if he had any advice for Belichick on how to handle the media swarm that follows Tebow, and he said Belichick shouldn’t listen to him even if he did. Ryan has reason to believe converting Tebow to another position won’t work, so he probably isn’t concerned if the Patriots plan to do that. At this point, he has no reason to worry. That doesn’t mean the questions are going to stop.