By HOWARD ULMAN, Associated Press
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — A flop on Broadway, Tim Tebow is getting an audition in Beantown.
Whether he'll perform well enough to make it to training camp with the New England Patriots next month is uncertain. At least he has a chance to prolong an NFL career that seemed at a dead end after he was released by the New York Jets in April.
A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Monday that the quarterback would join the Patriots for the start of their three-day minicamp on Tuesday and sign with the team, pending a medical exam. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no official announcement had been made.
ESPN first reported that Tebow would sign with the Patriots.
Asked if Tebow had signed, Patriots spokesman Stacey James said Monday, "I do not anticipate any additional transactions to announce tonight."
Tebow would find himself in a much different, and almost certainly more comfortable, situation than he endured with the Jets, who rarely used him after signing him to great fanfare.
There is no chance that Tebow might supplant the starter, Tom Brady, as there was in New York, where Mark Sanchez was on shaky ground and eventually was benched last season for Greg McElroy.
The media frenzy won't be as intense with coach Bill Belichick's bland news conferences, compared with Jets coach Rex Ryan's colorful sessions, and Belichick's firm grip on which players are allowed to speak with reporters and what they can say.
And Tebow's expectations may have been lowered after he was let go by Denver and New York. The Broncos traded him after the 2012 season and the Jets released him less than 14 months later.
"I think they'll take their time developing him," said former Jets and Patriots offensive lineman Damien Woody, now an ESPN analyst. "The Patriots are one of those teams that like to develop guys, and they'll even trade them if it works in their favor. In the more immediate future, having played in New England, I know one thing they value is versatility. They're going to try to use Tebow in positions where they feel they can maximize his talent."
That could be at tight end, a position the 6-foot-3, 236-pound Tebow has the size to play. There is uncertainty at that position after Rob Gronkowski had his fourth surgery on his broken left forearm on May 20 and is expected to undergo back surgery soon.
With the security provided by Brady, the Patriots have been patient in developing backups.
Matt Cassel threw just 39 passes in his first three seasons then played well after Brady suffered a season-ending left knee injury in the 2008 opener. After that season, the Patriots traded Cassel to Kansas City, where he signed a long-term deal and spent the past four years before being released last March and signing with Minnesota.
Brian Hoyer was Brady's seldom used backup the next two seasons and Ryan Mallett filled that role the past two seasons and remains on the team. The Patriots released third-stringer Mike Kafka on Monday.
The presence of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels also could help Tebow. McDaniels was Denver's head coach when he traded into the first round of the 2010 draft to take Tebow with the 25th pick.
But playing for McDaniels didn't help another of his former players in Denver and then in St. Louis, where McDaniels was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2011. Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd played for McDaniels in both places, was second on the Patriots last season with 74 catches — and then was released.
"If there's one guy in the NFL who's a fan of Tim Tebow or pulling for him, it would be Josh McDaniels," Woody said.
Belichick has been willing to gamble on players discarded by other teams. Some have succeeded, like wide receivers Wes Welker and Randy Moss and running back Danny Woodhead. Some haven't, including wide receiver Chad Johnson and defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth.