BOSTON (CBS) — Robert Kraft has spoken at length this summer about the traits and characteristics he appreciates in quarterback Tim Tebow. On Tuesday, just days before the Patriots must trim their roster from 75 to 53 players, the team’s owner said he’s hoping Tebow survives cuts but that he is not using his position to influence head coach Bill Belichick’s decisions.
“With Tim Tebow … he is a very special young man. I’m rooting for him big time,” Kraft said of Tebow. “He’s been a real joy to have around here, and I see why he has such a strong national following. He’s just a great, great young man.”
“I’m rooting for him and I’m in his corner, but I have the privilege of letting Bill make those decisions,” Kraft later added of Tebow’s spot on the team. “[Belichick's] got a pretty good record of doing it.”
The Patriots’ signing of Tebow was somewhat of a surprise, considering the stability the team has at the quarterback position with Tom Brady. His brief time with the Patriots has not been smooth sailing, either, with the quarterback completing just one of his seven passes for a loss of one yard in his most recent preseason action. He did not play at all in the Patriots’ preseason game in Detroit.
Whether or not Tebow will make the final roster has been and will continue to be a major point of debate in New England and beyond. Even though he’s fighting to sit third on the depth chart behind Brady and Ryan Mallett, Tebow’s name and presence always generates headlines and interest from coast to coast.
Kraft’s support on Tuesday certainly did not come out of nowhere, as he praised the quarterback’s character back in June.
“Life is about collecting good people around you who you like to have with you and who want to win. I think he, like many of our other players, fall in that category. You can’t have enough good people around you. He has the added dimension of spirituality being so important to him and that personally appeals to me a lot,” Kraft said in June. “Every interaction I’ve seen and watched, whether he’s in college or when I met him in the draft process, he handles himself in a first-class way. I don’t know anyone who has ever said anything that is not positive about him, people who are objective.”
Belichick’s decision will likely be more based on Tebow’s value on the football field than his personality, but Belichick offered some kind words about the quarterback earlier on Tuesday, similar to what he’s said throughout training camp.
“He’s great to work with. Outstanding,” Belichick said. “Smart, works hard, and football is important to him.”