The New York Jets released Tim Tebow six weeks ago, and the longer he went unsigned, the dimmer his NFL prospects seemed. The Arena League beckoned. So did Canada, if he wanted to go, which he did not. Only the NFL would suffice, and now that Tebow is poised to return, it is with the benefit of hindsight that perhaps there was merely one plausible destination for him all along.
That would be Foxborough, Mass., home of the New England Patriots, who in recent years have become a haven of sorts for wayward players seeking a second chance. By agreeing to sign with the Patriots, Tebow will try to resuscitate a career gone astray with a team that, in spirit and personality, bears little resemblance to his former employer.
There is no whiff of a quarterback controversy, or history of unreasonable expectations, or atmosphere that welcomes attention. The possibility fans will chant Tebow’s name during a September game at Gillette Stadium, for instance, is unfathomable, if not wholly absurd. Tom Brady’s backup, Ryan Mallett, will be higher on the depth chart than the 25-year-old Tebow, who first must make the Patriots’ 53-man roster.
That quest is expected to begin Tuesday at minicamp. The Patriots have not announced the signing, which was first reported by ESPN, but it was confirmed by a person with knowledge of the organization’s plans who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not official.
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In his lost season with the Jets, Tebow was misled and marginalized, a poor fit for a team that lacked offensive creativity. The circumstances, at least in theory, are more favorable in New England.
Tebow will be reunited with his coach in Denver, Josh McDaniels, the Patriots’ offensive coordinator. McDaniels has been a vocal supporter of Tebow’s, and he would probably welcome the opportunity to prove his faith was not misguided. Tebow will play for a coach, Bill Belichick, who values versatility in his players.
• Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel of Florida State took a step forward in the competition to win the Buffalo Bills’ starting job after the team released Tarvaris Jackson, 30, a former Seahawk.
• Court documents show Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones, 29, has been arrested and jailed on an assault charge after police said he tried to hurt a woman. A police complaint says Jones is accused of striking the Cincinnati woman shortly before midnight Wednesday.
The police report lists her injury as apparently minor.
• Former NFL receiver Chad Johnson, 35, was sentenced to 30 days in jail for a probation violation in a domestic-violence case by a Broward County (Fla.) judge who angrily rejected a no-jail plea deal after Johnson playfully slapped his attorney, Adam Swickle, on the backside in court.
“Is there something funny about this?” said Circuit Judge Kathleen McHugh, slapping the plea-deal document down. “The whole courtroom was laughing. I’m not going to accept these plea negotiations. This isn’t a joke.”