FOXBOROUGH -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick, in his usual demure tone, deflected question after question about the use of his new quarterback, Tim Tebow, in his first press conference in more than a month and a half.
Standing in front of a throng of media members from all across the East Coast, Belichick said the popular quarterback -- who joined the team officially on Tuesday and will wear No. 5 -- will do whatever is best for the team.
“He’s a talented player, who’s smart and who works hard,” Belichick said.
He repeated some variation of that over eight minutes before leaving for the first practice of Patriots minicamp.
Asked what drew the Patriots to Tebow, Belichick said, “We’re going to do what’s best for our football team.”
The veteran coach gave no indication of what position Tebow would play outside of quarterback.
When asked about dealing with the popularity of Tebow, including dealing with a surge in the number of media members covering him, Belichick quipped, “Hopefully there’ll be more than that at the games on Sunday.”
Tebow signed a contract that ESPN reported is for two years and includes no guaranteed money. That makes the move essentially no-risk for the Patriots.
Reaction to Tebow’s arrival in Foxborough was different in the New York Jets camp. Coach Rex Ryan, who cut Tebow earlier this year, quipped, “If they want to replace [Tom] Brady with him, that’s fine.”
Also of note, Belichick said all players were present for minicamp. Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, who appeared to suffer a shoulder injury during organized team activities, “will do what he can.” And tight end Rob Gronkowski, who is expected to have surgery on his back in this month, has been in contact with the team, but the coach would not elaborate.