FOXBOROUGH — Patriots owner Robert Kraft met with reporters Wednesday afternoon, and of course he was asked about his team’s newest player, Tim Tebow.
“If you want to win in this league, you need quality depth management,” said Kraft. “In the age of the salary cap, whenever you can get a competitive, first-grade person to join your team, you never know what happens.
“But for me, personally, having Tim Tebow on this team, he’s someone who believes in spirituality, he’s very competitive and works hard and has a great attitude and he’s a winner.
“Having him as part of our franchise is great but he has to compete just like anyone else. We’re blessed to have a lot of people like that, but the fact that spirituality is so important to him is very appealing to me.”
Kraft added that Tebow handles himself in a first-class way, and the owner has never heard anyone say something about the quarterback that isn’t positive.
Speaking after the annual Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards celebration, Kraft tried to keep the Tebow questions to a minimum, redirecting one about the media frenzy by saying how excited he is to have football back and how excited he is about the team New England is building.
Later, when asked how the Tebow signing came about, Kraft said he’s “just one of 90 people right now” and asked whether there hasn’t been enough talk about him.
He did stick by his belief — first voiced in 2009 when Michael Vick was released from prison and was a free agent — that he sees no reason for Tom Brady to come off the field for an athletic-type quarterback to take a couple of snaps.
“In my mind, we have the greatest quarterback of all time on our team, and every time he has the ball in his hands, we have a chance to do something great,” said Kraft. “Nothing has changed in that regard for me.”
The owner saw Tebow play a few times when he was at Florida, and the Patriots have faced Tebow a few times, so Kraft has seen him on-field a fair amount.
“I think he’s hard-working and very cooperative,” said Kraft. “I don’t think there’s any coach who wouldn’t like to have a team full of people like he is. Like Brady, he comes out there and works hard, or Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo. They come in, they work hard, they prepare hard and they’re all business. You can’t get enough people like that on your team. We’re honored that he’s with us.”
On Tuesday, Bill Belichick had said signing Tebow was a team decision, and it included Kraft’s input.
“He spoke to me about it,” said Kraft. “Look, 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.”
With the caveat that what happens in spring practices isn’t a definitive indicator, safety Adrian Wilson has looked good, making plays all over the field.
Younger defensive backs have spoken highly of Wilson, who signed with New England in March after spending the first 12 years of his career in Arizona.
Belichick was asked Wednesday morning if Wilson has taken a leadership role among the group.
“Adrian has done a good job,” Belichick said. “He’s worked hard, very professional. He has a real good attitude, has a lot of experience. We’ll see how the rest of it plays out.
“I would imagine probably what they [other players] were referring to is just the way he carries himself, the way he goes about his job. Works hard, smart guy, he’s experienced. He’s really tried to learn and buy into our program and do everything he can to find a way to contribute. I think he’s very well-respected.”
Wilson’s approach to minicamp is to go full bore.
“I try to stress myself as much as I can, just try to get as much as I can down in the playbook,” he said.
A 2001 third-round pick, Wilson is the oldest member of the Patriots secondary but finds himself learning from his new teammates.
“I think it’s a good mix,” he said. “Guys play hard, guys have been in the system, so they’re making it a lot easier on me. Those guys have already been in the system, they know the system, and just being in the classroom with those guys, being able to sit beside Steve [Gregory], sit beside Devin [McCourty] — those guys, they know the playbook, so being able to ask questions of them and not put so much pressure on the coach.”
Tebow’s contract is for two years, with no guaranteed money and no signing bonus. His base salary is $630,000 for 2013 and $730,000 for 2014; he also can receive a $25,000 workout bonus next offseason. What all of that means is if things don’t work out, New England can cut him before the start of the regular season without owing him a penny . . . Belichick was asked for his thoughts on players who skip the voluntary offseason program — i.e. Brandon Spikes — and responded, “It is what it is. We all know the rules and the guidelines and that’s what they are.” . . . Aaron Hernandez (shoulder), who has been present but limited during OTAs and the first day of minicamp, was not on the field in any capacity Wednesday.