Last spring, after being dumped by his second NFL team (the New York Jets this time, the Denver Broncos previously), Tim Tebow sat unclaimed on the unrestricted free-agent heap. No one wanted him.
Then in June, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots took a flyer on the former Heisman winner from Florida. This was about the best possible scenario for Tebow. There was no pressure on him to be the starter – Tom Brady has that job. Or even second string – the fairly capable Ryan Mallett is the No. 2.
Tebow’s sole challenge was to do enough – either by showing versatility or promise in development – to convince Belichick to keep him as the third quarterback. He was competing with no one, really. Hype and outside influences no longer mattered. This opportunity was a blank canvas with one of the great football minds of all time. Tebow just had to show something to buy himself time to develop his game under the protection of football’s most stable and winning environment.
And it didn’t work.
The Patriots released the 25-year-old Tebow on Saturday, deciding to carry just two QBs on their final 53-man roster. What the decision says is that Tebow didn’t show enough of a reason for the Patriots to bother with him. They’d rather have a backup at some other position.