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 a backup quarterback, No. 5 on his helmet and number three on the depth chart.
And when practice ended Tuesday, Tebow talked with the media — for all of 40 seconds.
“First and foremost, I just want to thank the Patriots for giving me an opportunity,” he said.
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For now, that’s all it is.
No promises of trick plays. No huge media circus. Not even a guaranteed job for the ex-New York Jet.
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 said he will make the veteran’s minimum salary, $630,000 in 2013, with incentives.
“It’s such an honor to be a Patriot and play for Coach Belichick and Coach (Josh) McDaniels (offensive coordinator), learn under Tom and to be a part of this great franchise,” said the 25-year-old Tebow, who owns a Heisman Trophy, two college national-championship rings earned at Florida and one NFL playoff victory, plus a global following based as much on his religious beliefs as his performance on the field.
Belichick, as usual, was brief in his hopes for Tebow.
“We’ll try to do what we think is best for our football team,” Belichick said.
Ravens release Leach
OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Vonta Leach was released by the Baltimore Ravens, who failed to agree on a restructured contract with the three-time All-Pro fullback.
Leach, 31, was an integral part of a running game that helped the Ravens become Super Bowl champions last season.
General manager Ozzie Newsome left open the possibility Leach could return if he fails to find an adequate suitor in free agency.
• The Indianapolis Colts signed running back Ahmad Bradshaw, 27, who spent seven seasons with the New York Giants before being released. He rushed for 1,015 yards last season but missed four games because of injuries and is recovering from surgery on his right foot in January.
• Rookie linebacker Manti Te’o of Notre Dame was allowed to speak with reporters for the first time in more than a month as the San Diego Chargers opened minicamp.
Questions about football outnumbered those about fallout from him being the target of a hoax involving a fake girlfriend.
“ I’m here to play football,” he said. “I’m here to be the best Charger I can be and I’m not going to let anything get in the way of that.”
• Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones, 29, pleaded not guilty to an assault charge after police say he hit a 34-year-old woman at a nightclub last week, the latest in a string of legal troubles for him. Jones attended the start of the Bengals’ training camp and declined to comment on the case.