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Letter to Tim Tebow: Don't mess this up

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff  June 10, 2013 06:57 PM

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Don't worry about the heavy lifting, Tim Tebow. Tom Brady has that covered. (Barry Gutierrez / AP file photo)

Welcome, Tim Tebow.

Your arrival comes as a surprise, but it is a pleasant one. As a good teammate, one who is certainly worthy of such a title, the Patriots are a natural fit for you. And certainly in more ways than one.

You're back with your old coach, the initiator of your NFL career, Josh McDaniels. He'll be your quarterback coach, helping to develop you as he promised to do so following the 2010 NFL draft.

You have been embraced by Bill Belichick, who has more than 38 years of NFL coaching experience. And you've got the precious and most valued commodity of time at your disposal, with Tom Brady becoming a free agent after 2017 and Ryan Mallett after the 2014 season. Coming in as the third string quarterback will allow you to learn, develop, and mature at your preferred position.

All you have to do is not screw it up.

The dynamics of the quarterback situation in New England are set. There's no worry that Brady will be replaced or for that matter surrender any number of snaps. There's no immediate consensus that you, Tebow, will replace Mallett on the team's game-day active roster. This is the kind of kick-back job that will require you to be seen, not heard.

And for that matter, this is without a doubt your last opportunity to learn the quarterback position or make the decision of whether to become a fullback or tight end. It's an unenvious position for the proud, but an opportunity nonetheless. It will require hard work and accuracy (something better than your career 47.9 completion percentage). It will require quiet leadership and focus.

But what's more, this tenure with the Patriots will likely bring to an end the deafening noise of Tebowmania, which has swelled your popularity since you were in Florida. The Patriots will likely limit your speaking opportunities and they'll scrutinize your comments when you do talk. But more than anything, they'll make sure that at the end of the day, you are not the story for the 2013 Patriots, much like they made sure Chad Johnson was not the story for the 2011 team. It's not just for the benefit of the team and to push the proverbial "Patriot Way." It is to protect you from the distractions a person such as yourself has no control over. And yes, it will diminish Tebowmania. But it will not destroy it.

If you do the things asked of you and show the promise displayed in 2011, the benefits for both you and the Patriots will be obvious. You can possibly revive your career and the Patriots will have some measure of uncertainty at backup quarterback alleviated. But coming to New England can also very well ruin your career, in a much more painful way than the doldrums of New York ever could. Because if in the safety and serenity of Belichick you cannot thrive, you are hopeless.

Somehow, I know you aim for better. And that's why you're here.

@zuriberry

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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