Tim Tebow hasn’t officially signed with the Patriots yet, and Bill Belichick won’t be addressing the topic until approximately 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, when he holds a press conference before the start of the Patriots’ minicamp, which Tebow will attend.
Fortunately, we don’t need to wait until tomorrow to hear Belichick’s thoughts on Tebow. The two have been friends since at least 2007, when Belichick would visit the University of Florida to swap ideas with Urban Meyer’s coaching staff. And Belichick wasn’t shy about his support of Tebow when he spoke extensively about him in 2009-10 when Tebow was wrapping up his legendary NCAA career and preparing for the NFL. Heck, he even took Tebow out to dinner in the North End in the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft.
Here is a look back at Belichick’s thoughts and influences on Tebow:
From the NFL owners meetings in March 2010, about four weeks before the NFL Draft:
“My sense of Tim Tebow is that if you asked him to play nose, he’d play nose. I think he’s the kind of kid, where whatever you ask him to do he’ll do. I don’t know what a team will do with him, but I think he’s a real interesting player. He’s had a great career, obviously it speaks for itself.”
”He’s had a great career. There are a lot of positives. I’m sure he’s going to help a team. I think he performed very well in the offense he was in. I think he was outstanding. He’s already spent, I think, six weeks, or whatever it’s been, working on some other things and I think you can see the results of that working. He’s worked hard and made some changes, you can see those changes. I think he’ll continue to work.
Can he change his throwing motion, and survive in the NFL?
“Tiger Woods has rebuilt his golf swing twice. Every quarterback I’ve ever had or coached has worked on his mechanics and improved them. Phil Simms, certainly (Jeff) Hostetler, Brady, I can’t think of too many that haven’t. It’s part of every player’s development. I mean, show me a player who comes into this league at 21 and is a finished product at any position. Show me one guy.
“They all need work. They all have things they need to work on. Some guys are more coachable than others. Some guys have different things they need to correct, whatever the technique or physical development happens to be. I don’t think that’s unusual.”
From a 2009 Sports Illustrated article on the rise of the single-wing offense in college football:
“There aren’t many players who can run and throw. Tebow, obviously, is a special one. But you’ve got major questions because if you’re going to run him 15 times a game, how long will he last before they break him in half? But he is obviously special, and it’s going to be very interesting to see what happens when he comes into this league. Do you just run your regular offense and let him scramble when he scrambles? Do you put in a few plays just for him? Or do you really build an entire new offense around him?”
From a 2009 article in the New York Times:
Florida quarterback Tim Tebow said that many of the empty backfield packages that the Patriots run came from Meyer’s playbook. The Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio said that Florida used some ”shuffle motions to unwind defenses” and some ”pre-snap motions” that came from New England.
Tebow has spent a lot of time around Belichick, both when Belichick has addressed the Gators and one-on-one. He said he leaned on Belichick ”as a friend” when deciding whether to enter the N.F.L. draft after his junior year.
”Anytime I can talk with him and get advice from him and ask him as many questions as I could, I do,” Tebow said. ”He’s just someone that I respect a lot. He was someone I really wanted to talk to and Coach Meyer felt comfortable with me talking to him.”