New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is not one to engage in controversy in the media. However, he did speak out on Thursday to deny a report that he "hates" polarizing free agent quarterback Tim Tebow.
As documented by ESPNBoston.com's Field Yates, Belichick would not specify whether the team would consider signing the 25-year-old QB, yet felt compelled to deny the notion that he has any hatred for him:
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...It is unfortunate that something so inaccurate was reported.
It's a strong denial from Belichick that came nearly a month after Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports reported Tebow was being "blackballed" by NFL teams because of the media frenzy that inevitably follows him. Part of that report cited an organizational source for the Patriots, who said Belichick "hates" Tebow as a player.
Silver also noted the Patriots wouldn't want "the circus" that Tebow's profile brings, which makes sense considering New England's organizational culture of the "Patriot Way."
Having said that, it's also odd that Belichick would even address the issue and draw attention by doing so.
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was the head coach for the Denver Broncos when the team selected Tebow with the 25th overall pick in the 2010 draft. McDaniels is an offensive genius, and clearly had a plan for Tebow to succeed in the league as a franchise quarterback.
Since being released by the New York Jets, Tebow has not gotten a shot from any NFL team on the open market.
It's somewhat encouraging for Tebow that Belichick does not hate him, but it's a far cry from the team expressing interest in signing him.
Tebow keyed a thrilling 2011 run to the postseason in Denver, leading the Broncos to a wild-card playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in which he threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns in the overtime win.