Bill Belichick really wasn't kidding when he recently said that he didn't hate Tim Tebow.
The New England Patriots were signing the polarizing back-up quarterback, as first reported by Ed Werder of ESPN on Monday. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com and Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe soon confirmed the report, citing unnamed sources. Rapoport also reported that the deal came together quite quickly, in approximately 24 hours.
Just filed to ESPN: The Patriots are signing QB Tim Tebow and expect him to be in minicamp tomorrow
— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) June 10, 2013
The #Patriots are signing Tim Tebow, per a source.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 10, 2013
League source confirms the Patriots are signing Tim Tebow.
— shalise manza young (@shalisemyoung) June 10, 2013
An unnamed source described as being "a person familiar with the situation" told Dennis Waszak Jr. of The Associated Press that Tebow will be signing with the Patriots and practicing on Tuesday at the team's minicamp.
Although the terms of the deal have reportedly been agreed upon, the Patriots won't announce the signing until after Tebow passes a physical, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.
"I do not anticipate any additional transactions to announce tonight," Patriots spokesman Stacey James said late Monday, via The Associated Press.
The team announced the release of third-string quarterback Mike Kafka just hours before the Tebow acquisition was first reported.
This reported deal comes just days after the Patriots' coach refuted a Yahoo! report that he "hated" Tebow as a player.
"I wouldn't get into the probability of us pursuing any free agent. Every single player has strengths and weaknesses but regardless of that, for anyone to have represented that is the way I feel about Tim Tebow is completely untrue, baseless and irresponsible," Belichick told via ESPNBoston.com last week. "It is unfortunate that something so inaccurate was reported."
With Tebow's NFL future uncertain following his release by the New York Jets after one unproductive season, Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports wrote that the frenzy of "Tebowmania is at least partly to blame" for the lack of landing spots for Heisman winner. In that same piece about Tebow possibly being "blackballed" by NFL clubs, Silver cited an unnamed "organizational source" who told him that Belichick "hated" Tebow.
Not surprisingly, the frenzy picked up shortly after Werder reported that Tebow had found a new team.
MORE FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS:
A person familiar with the situation says quarterback Tim Tebow will be signing with the New England Patriots and joining their minicamp Tuesday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no official announcement had been made.
ESPN first reported that Tebow would sign with New England.
One of the NFL's most polarizing players, Tebow spent a lost season in 2012 with the New York Jets, playing sparingly behind struggling starter Mark Sanchez. Tebow was released in April.
Tebow won two national titles at Florida and was a first-round draft pick in 2010 by Denver. He helped the Broncos win the AFC West in 2011, even beating Pittsburgh in a wild-card game before losing to, yes, the Patriots.
But he was traded to New York the following offseason when Denver signed Peyton Manning. Tebow threw only eight passes for the Jets, completing six, ran 32 times for 102 yards and was used mostly to protect the punter.
The Patriots, of course, have Tom Brady as their starting quarterback, and Ryan Mallett as the backup. They released QB Mike Kafka on Monday.
Asked if Tebow had signed, Patriots spokesman Stacey James said, "I do not anticipate any additional transactions to announce tonight."
Tebow's NFL career appeared over when the Jets couldn't trade him at draft time and wound up cutting the left-handed quarterback, who won the 2007 Heisman Trophy at Florida. There even was speculation he couldn't get an offer from any Canadian Football League teams.
But now he is headed to New England, where the man who drafted him as coach of the Broncos, Josh McDaniels, is an offensive assistant under head coach Bill Belichick.
And other than winning Super Bowls, Belichick likes nothing better than sticking it to the Jets. Revitalizing Tebow's career would do exactly that.